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VPN capabilities of iPhone, iPad targeted in patent suit against Apple

post #1 of 37
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Apple, along with a handful of other companies, is the target of a new lawsuit that claims iOS devices, including the iPhone and iPad, violate a patent related to virtual private networking.

This week VirnetX filed a complaint against Apple, along with Cisco Systems, Astra Technologies, and NEC Corporation. The California-based corporation has accused the defendants of patent infringement. In all, five specific patents are named in the suit:

U.S. Patent No. 6,502,135 - "Agile Network Protocol for Secure Communications with Assured System Availability"
6,839,759 - "Method for Establishing Secure Communication Link Between Computers of Virtual Private Network Without User Entering Any Cryptographic Information"
7,188,180 - "Method for Establishing Secure Communication Link Between Computers of Virtual Private Network"
7,418,504 - Agile Network Protocol for Secure Communications Using Secure Domain Names"
7,490,151 - "Establishment of a Secure Communication Link Based on a Domain Name Service (DNS) Request"

With respect to Apple, VirnetX has accused the Cupertino, Calif., company of violating the patents ending in 135 and 151. The suit specifically mentions the iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch and iPad as violating numerous claims in each patent.

"Apple's acts of infringement have caused damage to VirnetX," the complaint reads. "VirnetX is entitled to recover from Apple the damages sustained by VirnetX as a result of Apple's wrongful acts in an amount subject to proof at trial. In addition, the infringing acts and practices of Apple have caused, are causing, and, unless such acts and practices are enjoined by the Court, will continue to cause immediate and irreparable harm to VirnetX for which there is no adequate remedy at law."

VirnetX bills itself as "seamless, automatic, Internet security." Its website says that the company is "engaged in commercializing its patent portfolio by developing a licensing program." It said it owns more than 48 U.S. and international patents.



As noted by Bloomberg, earlier this year VirnetX won $200 million in a similar lawsuit against Microsoft. The Redmond, Wash., software giant settled the case over the VPN-related patents.

The latest complaint against Apple was filed in a U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas. Patent suits are frequently filed there in hopes of a favorable outcome.
post #2 of 37
Gotdamn, lawsuit rate is higher than a bitch in E this week.
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post #3 of 37
Welcome to America... effin sad...
post #4 of 37
What a shocker, filed in the East District Court of Texas again.
post #5 of 37
Shouldn't be that big of an issue, since Apple just licences Ciscos technology. So Cisco would have to pay for Apple...
post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The latest complaint against Apple was filed in a U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas. Patent suits are frequently filed there in hopes of a favorable outcome.

How much longer must we suffer with lawsuits like this, where some no-name company happens to hold an extremely generic patient, doesn't do anything but squat on the idea, waits for some company to implement this method, and sues them for it? Further, why are these logic-defying lawsuits so often effective in the Eastern District of Texas? I think I know, but I don't want to be mean...

Software patents shouldn't be granted to those who don't implement them, or if anything, be revoked after a year or two if no active development has taken place. This has all been said before... nothing has been done about it... and you have innovative companies like Apple, Cisco, and dare I say, even Microsoft, being sued millions of dollars for no good reason. Isn't it time that all these companies band together and collectively say "F--- this, we're not paying, the U.S. patent system needs to be fixed, and let us know when it is."...?

It's pathetic how innovation is potentially being held back by some greedy no-name fools.
post #7 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysantic View Post

How much longer must we suffer with lawsuits like this, where some no-name company happens to hold an extremely generic patient, doesn't do anything but squat on the idea, waits for some company to implement this method, and sues them for it? Further, why are these logic-defying lawsuits so often effective in the Eastern District of Texas? I think I know, but I don't want to be mean...

Software patents shouldn't be granted to those who don't implement them, or if anything, be revoked after a year or two if no active development has taken place. This has all been said before... nothing has been done about it... and you have innovative companies like Apple, Cisco, and dare I say, even Microsoft, being sued millions of dollars for no good reason. Isn't it time that all these companies band together and collectively say "F--- this, we're not paying, the U.S. patent system needs to be fixed, and let us know when it is."...?

It's pathetic how innovation is potentially being held back by some greedy no-name fools.

While I agree with you in principle, each suit needs to be judged on its merits. In some cases, I'm sure the claims are valid.

The fact that this one was filed in this particular court makes me a bit suspicious.
post #8 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedarts View Post

Welcome to America... effin sad...

I see your America" and raise you the "East District Court of Texas.
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post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysantic View Post

Software patents shouldn't be granted to those who don't implement them.

That would completely change the patent system, to the detriment of every small inventor in the country - and vastly enriching large companies.

I'm not going to argue about software patents-there are far too many issues to go into here. But the premise that you shouldn't get a patent unless you actually produce something would be disastrous. The entire function of the patent system is to level the playing field. If I invent a new invention for a gas turbine, there's no way in the world I could invest the billions of dollars needed to get into the gas turbine business, so I could NEVER use the patent. Your proposal would allow GE to simply steal my technology since I could never get a patent. Or, if 'non-use' were their defense, they could simply wrap me up with legal expenses. Big companies would, by default, be able to steal any technology they want from the little guys.

Patents are designed to reward the inventor. If I truly invent something, no one else should be able to use it without paying me - whether I have the resources (or interest) to make it myself.
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post #10 of 37
The patent system needs some fixing. VPN has been around before the 2000-2003 filing dates of some of these patents. The US Patent Office is a wreck just like the rest of the government.
post #11 of 37
Makes me wonder why they didn't include Apple, Cisco, and NEC in the original lawsuit against MS? Unless they don't have as strong of a case against them as they had against MS, and are now using the settlement with MS as a way to make their patents seem more legit in this new case. Try to influence the judge/jury that these other defendants are also infringing just like MS was.
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I see your America" and raise you the "East District Court of Texas.

I'll take that action!

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post #13 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Futuristic View Post

I'll take that action!


East District Court of Texas Holdem: The Game Where Only the Lawyers Win.

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post #14 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post

What a shocker, filed in the East District Court of Texas again.

if they go out of their way to file the suit in Marshall Texas, its full of crap.. OK, if they happen to live in east Texas, then its understandable. But otherwise, file there and you only have noise.

It turns out that much of the money coming in to Marshall texas is due to these law suits. Motel rooms, food stores, rental equipment, rental cars.... etc.... come there and sue and the locals understand this.

That is why the suing person is 75% more likely to win, just by suing there.

Just a thoughtful thought.
en

PS, I have been there. Nothing but lawsuit heaven.
post #15 of 37
There needs to be a separate court for computer patents, where the judges know what's a real innovation and what would be obvious to any computer nerd (even without the benefit of hindsight).
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Makes me wonder why they didn't include Apple, Cisco, and NEC in the original lawsuit against MS? Unless they don't have as strong of a case against them as they had against MS, and are now using the settlement with MS as a way to make their patents seem more legit in this new case. Try to influence the judge/jury that these other defendants are also infringing just like MS was.

Probably to establish a factual basis for further lawsuits and/or to induce others who they believe to be infringing to license their patents without a lawsuit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

There needs to be a separate court for computer patents, where the judges know what's a real innovation and what would be obvious to any computer nerd (even without the benefit of hindsight).

Maybe, but judges in highly technical cases (computer patents hardly being the only one of that kind) can appoint a Special Master to help them work though the technical issues.
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post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Maybe, but judges in highly technical cases (computer patents hardly being the only one of that kind) can appoint a Special Master to help them work though the technical issues.

Well there sure seem to be a lot of specious technical patents out there.
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by eldernorm View Post

if they go out of their way to file the suit in Marshall Texas, its full of crap.. OK, if they happen to live in east Texas, then its understandable. But otherwise, file there and you only have noise.

It turns out that much of the money coming in to Marshall texas is due to these law suits. Motel rooms, food stores, rental equipment, rental cars.... etc.... come there and sue and the locals understand this.

That is why the suing person is 75% more likely to win, just by suing there.

Just a thoughtful thought.
en

PS, I have been there. Nothing but lawsuit heaven.

Wow, and this hasn't raised any eyebrows that something curious might be going on there?
post #19 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by iGod 2.0 View Post

Gotdamn, lawsuit rate is higher than a bitch in E this week.

Indeed it is:

Apple sues "inferior quality" iPod, iPhone and iPad accessory makers
http://www.appleinsider.com/articles...ry_makers.html

Apple sues resellers over power adapters
http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-20010156-37.html

Apple sues HTC for infringing 20 iPhone patents
http://www.engadget.com/2010/03/02/a...phone-patents/

Apple Files New Trade Complaint With Against Nokia
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=aOUohioz.WXc

Apple Sues Eastman Kodak for Patent Infringement
http://www.patentlyapple.com/patentl...ringement.html

Apple sues another company with an apple logo
http://creativebits.org/opinion/appl...any_apple_logo
post #20 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by BTBlomberg View Post

The patent system needs some fixing. VPN has been around before the 2000-2003 filing dates of some of these patents. The US Patent Office is a wreck just like the rest of the government.

I really wish people would stop posting about topics they don't understand.

The CONCEPT of VPN is not patentable. You can only patent an implementation. It is entirely possible that there could have been 1,000 implementations of VPN before 2000, but if this company invented a new way of doing it that they could patent that particular method.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggin View Post

Makes me wonder why they didn't include Apple, Cisco, and NEC in the original lawsuit against MS? Unless they don't have as strong of a case against them as they had against MS, and are now using the settlement with MS as a way to make their patents seem more legit in this new case. Try to influence the judge/jury that these other defendants are also infringing just like MS was.

Because you almost never sue ALL infringers at the same time - both for strategic and financial reasons. Typically, you spend a lot of time deciding which alleged infringer to go after. The first case is critical because once you've won a case, it becomes much easier to win other cases.

Therefore, you sometimes go after the weakest company - in the hopes of getting them to settle to avoid litigation that might put them out of business. Or, you go after a cash rich company where you have a very strong case - in the hopes that the company will settle to avoid the nuisance of a suit.

SOP.
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post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

Well there sure seem to be a lot of specious technical patents out there.

Granted, it's become a litigator's paradise, but even though this knife cuts both ways, I hardly hear anyone outside of forums like this complaining about specious technical patents. The companies which are forced to duke it out in court over who owns what don't seem to mind.
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post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by LTMP View Post

While I agree with you in principle, each suit needs to be judged on its merits. In some cases, I'm sure the claims are valid.

The fact that this one was filed in this particular court makes me a bit suspicious.

Agreed, the law can't be circumvented just because it annoys us. However, the fact that these all get filed in East Texas should be a strong indication that someone should investigate the integrity of those courts. A little patent reform is in order too I believe.
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

Agreed, the law can't be circumvented just because it annoys us. However, the fact that these all get filed in East Texas should be a strong indication that someone should investigate the integrity of those courts. A little patent reform is in order too I believe.

Are you implying that this court district is corrupt? What kind of patent reform?
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post #24 of 37
The Bilski case has changed the landscape and that's probably why some folks are filing now - trying to get ahead of the curve.

On the other hand, suing Apple is a high-stakes game. So is suing IBM, as SCO discovered (although it's not dead yet, and it wasn't for patent-related stuff).

Larry might well find that the Java patents are not worth what he paid for them - time will tell. But going after Google first is a gutsy move (typical Larry style). I don't expect either side to settle so the trial on patent-validity should help clear the air. Finally.

I'm betting that a lot of "patents" will soon be worthless.
post #25 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post

Are you implying that this court district is corrupt? What kind of patent reform?

Here you go - someone trying to intellectually rationalize a broken system. The patent system is obviously seriously broken. And yes, if you are 75% more likely to win by filing in East Texas, the system there is in fact corrupt or all the trolls wouldn't be filing there.
post #26 of 37
So they have never used these patents. It sounds like they tread on prior public domain patents and prior art. They are using the Texas court system because they can be bought (even if it is just by giving these losers favorable outcomes so they get more cases tried).

Microsoft is a sucker for settling. Isn't there a way to counter sue these bastards? Or are they immune because they don't make anything?

What are these guys doing with their money anyway? 200 million from settling just one lawsuit for submitting some overly broad patent. Normally I don't care... but these guys didn't earn it.
post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by plovell View Post

The Bilski case has changed the landscape and that's probably why some folks are filing now - trying to get ahead of the curve.

On the other hand, suing Apple is a high-stakes game. So is suing IBM, as SCO discovered (although it's not dead yet, and it wasn't for patent-related stuff).

Larry might well find that the Java patents are not worth what he paid for them - time will tell. But going after Google first is a gutsy move (typical Larry style). I don't expect either side to settle so the trial on patent-validity should help clear the air. Finally.

I'm betting that a lot of "patents" will soon be worthless.

I don't understand how, but I'm not a lawyer. Didn't the Bilski case just restrict patents to machines. Last I knew, the iPhone was still a machine. You could consider software part of a machine as well. Personally I think only exactly the same technique should be contestable. Right down to the protocol implementation in this case. That will prevent knockoff products, but allow other completely different implementations to exist. These patents are ridiculous. You might as well just tear a few pages out of a computer science text book and patent the algorithms in them.

They are also suing for using open standards. L2TP was created by The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) for example. Don't these standards bodies own patents that were prior to the ones they are suing for? These are not new protocols. They have been around for awhile. I bet these standards bodies have older patents covering the same things. I don't really understand why Microsoft decided they couldn't win, but I guess Microsoft always settles.
post #28 of 37
It looks like the lawyers made 30 million (20 million plus 10 million in costs) and VirnetX made $170 million on the Microsoft settlement. If you look at VirnetX web page it is full of BS. I like how they say their technology prevents DNS poisoning by not letting you access the public internet. The front page is set up to look like they actually have products, when really they only have IP when you try to learn more about them.

If you read this:
http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-...nclick_check=1

VirnetX Holding Company has 12 employees (according to D&B, some of them members of the same family) in a 6400 sq. ft. office, no revenue stream and was founded in 2005. Do they get to split the 170 million left after paying the lawyers equally? That is more then 10 million each. They still want more? And that was just from the Microsoft settlement. It wasn't their only one.

They also just went public. They will be paying dividends since they have no profit or value outside of lawsuits. So now you can invest in trolling.
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Here you go - someone trying to intellectually rationalize a broken system. The patent system is obviously seriously broken. And yes, if you are 75% more likely to win by filing in East Texas, the system there is in fact corrupt or all the trolls wouldn't be filing there.

Would you please be so kind as to either list the patents that you have or stat where you received your law degree.
post #30 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by grking View Post

Would you please be so kind as to either list the patents that you have or stat where you received your law degree.

Since when do you need a law degree to state the obvious. It seems you only need a law degree to manipulate the system or a Ph. D. to get a vague or obvious patent.
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

Since when do you need a law degree to state the obvious. It seems you only need a law degree to manipulate the system or a Ph. D. to get a vague or obvious patent.

Well, let us see. At one time it was "obvious" that the earth was the center of the Universe. It was "obvious" that the earth was flat. It was "obvious" that certain races were "inferior." It was "obvious" that women were incapable of higher thought.

If the patent were so "obvious" then why didn't you or someone else come up with it earlier.

"obvious" is often wrong, and given a system as complicated as the patent system, one would hope that one would have a certain amount of expertise in the field before calling it broken.

As much as some would like to believe, not everyone's opinion is valid.
post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Here you go - someone trying to intellectually rationalize a broken system. The patent system is obviously seriously broken. And yes, if you are 75% more likely to win by filing in East Texas, the system there is in fact corrupt or all the trolls wouldn't be filing there.

Here you go trying to put words into someone's mouth. Sorry if I asked a question you can't answer.
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post #33 of 37
One word:

Patent Whores.
post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysantic View Post

It's pathetic how innovation is potentially being held back by some greedy no-name fools.

Word!

Companies like Apple should be allowed to innovate no matter what!
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by esummers View Post

What are these guys doing with their money anyway? 200 million from settling just one lawsuit for submitting some overly broad patent. Normally I don't care... but these guys didn't earn it.

I generally agree a lot of the patents seem stupid and not actually real inventions.

However IT patents can be very specific and very technical so it could be something unique. Also nobody really has an actual knowledge over the history of the patent. Fine it might now be owned by a company that doesn't do anything but sue, but before that it could have been the result of a high amount of investment. The company may have failed but a patent is still worth something and can be sold. So if that happened and the current owners invested in buying the patent why should they not now sue anyone infringing on it.

If I came up with an idea that was unique, got a patent but failed to make it into a successful business, that shouldn't give anyone else the right to use my invention for free.
post #36 of 37
While Google Android Smartphone sales may have passed the iPhone worldwide within the second quarter of 2010, it doesn't take an Oracle to see that there's trouble ahead for the business whose unofficial motto is "Do no evil.". Google Inc. is being sued by Oracle Corp. because Oracles Java copyright was violated with the Android OS, reports the Wall Street Journal. Eric Schmidt, a previous Sun chief technology officer, whose Googles founder, and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison are against one another in the suit. In January 2010, the business that started Java, Sun, was bought by Oracle. Today, Java is used within the Android Smartphone as well as hundreds of other devices.
post #37 of 37
Ohh Great Post and Good Team Response!
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