Patent Troll, VirnetX, Requesting Upwards of $532 Million from Apple

According to a report published in Bloomberg, VirnetX — which is, perhaps, the most notorious patent troll of all time — is back at it, this time requesting a sum of $532 million in damages from Apple for infringing on its “patents.”

VirnetX is no stranger to the court system, though; the company, which has yet to commercialize a single product utilizing its many, many patents, has been battling tech companies like Apple and Microsoft for years now.

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The company is currently seeking $532 million in damages from Apple, based on certain patents pertaining to the Silicon Valley tech-giant’s communications protocols — such as iMessage and FaceTime. VirnetX’s lawyers, unsurprisingly, are claiming that Apple has not been “playing fairly.”

“Apple hasn’t played fair. They have taken VirnetX’s intellectual property without permission,” VirnetX lawyer Brad Caldwell of Caldwell Cassady told the jury in Tyler, Texas.”

Just the fact that VirnetX is seeking more money is perhaps unsurprising, though, especially considering how long these patent trials have been going on.

In 2012, for example, VirnetX was awarded a judgment against Apple in its favor, with the Cupertino company ordered to pay $368.2 million for infringing on these patented technologies.

In 2014, however, that decision was overturned, tossed out the door, primarily because the verdict handed down was too heavily influenced by instructions given to the jury. At the time, a retrial was set, which is essentially what’s currently on the table.

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VirnetX relies heavily on profits from court battles with various companies, seeing as how it’s yet to bring any of its own products to market. Yet even still, one of Apple’s lawyers, Greg Arovas, claims that VirnetX is asking for way too much money — especially in light of previous cases that have played out in its favor, such as the big Microsoft ruling in 2012 (in which VirnetX was awarded $200 million.)

According to Arovas, Apple believes in playing the game fairly, as well as protecting a firm’s intellectual property, but touts that VirnetX just keeps blotting the boundaries by asking for more and more money.

“Apple believes in fairness and protecting intellectual property. VirnetX keeps moving the boundary, asking for more and more and more,” said Arovas.

In any case, the trial is expected to commence sometime within the next week or so.

What do you think about this case?
Is VirnetX in the right, or are they just another “me too” patent
wielding company looking for a free ride on the gravy train?

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