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Lawsuit accuses Apple's iPhone 4S of violating VPN patent

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Apple is the target of a new lawsuit that asserts a number of the company's products, including the newly released iPhone 4S, infringe on a virtual private network patent.

The complaint, filed this week in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Texas, was lodged by VirnetX. It's the same company that won a $200 million settlement from Microsoft in a separate lawsuit 2010.

VirnetX's new lawsuit against Apple is related to one invention: U.S. Patent No. 8,05,181, entitled "Method for Establishing Secure Communication Link Between Computers of Virtual Private Network." It was awarded to the company, which is headquartered in Nevada, this week.

In fact, the plaintiff wasted no time in accusing Apple of violating its patent: the invention was awarded on Tuesday, Nov. 1, and the complaint against Apple was filed by VirnetX that very same day. The company originally filed for ownership of the invention with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in February of 2007.

The invention describes a technique "for establishing a secure communication link between a first computer and a second computer over a computer network." This is accomplished by establishing a "secure communication mode of communication" at a first computer without the need for the user to enter any cryptographic information.



The system relies on a "pseudo-random sequence" of varying data values to secure a communication link between two computers. These sequences are included in each data packet to properly encrypt the data to establish a secure connection.

VirnetX's complaint asserts that the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPad 2, iPod touch, and Mac systems that run Lion, the latest version of the Mac OS X operating system, infringe upon the '181 patent. Lead attorney Douglas A. Cawley with the law firm McKool Smith seeks an injunction against Apple, and also believes that his client, VirnetX, is entitled to damages.
post #2 of 25
A successful patent troll. Kudos?

It seems odd they'd sue over a device and not the OS which contains the method. Can anyone shed some light on this particular patent?
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post #3 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


VirnetX's new lawsuit against Apple is related to one invention: U.S. Patent No. 8,05,181, entitled "Method for Establishing Secure Communication Link Between Computers of Virtual Private Network." It was awarded to the company, which is headquartered in Nevada, this week.

Uh oh.

post #4 of 25
Doesn't OS X pull its network code from BSD?
post #5 of 25
Yep patent troll. Nothing to see here. Move along.
post #6 of 25
Occupy Marshall, Texas?

I'm sure they managed to patent something ridiculous like Mutual SSL Identities... whatever it is nothing in this space should be enforceable. It is either part of an open standard or it is obvious. Can I patent "Method of recognizing someone by asking for a description of them in advance?"
post #7 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

...It's the same company that won a $200 million settlement from Microsoft in a separate lawsuit 2010...

Does that mean that the IP in question is not covered by the patents which are cross-licensed between Apple and Microsoft?
post #8 of 25
So they invented VPN connections? In 2007?

Right.
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pendergast View Post

So they invented VPN connections? In 2007?

Right.

'A' method, which apparently Apple is employing through its range of OSes without the proper licensing. It's a little hard to buy but I guess it's possible.
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post #10 of 25
The smartphone and tablet markets are in their infancy. There are billions upon billions of profits to be made and everybody wants in on the action. Apple gets sued left and right. So do the other players but we don't hear about them because we only follow Apple. That said I had no idea this patent business was as lucrative for lawyers and paper-only companies as it clearly is. I used to think a patent attorney worked at the patent office and read patents all day long. Boy was I wrong!!!!!
post #11 of 25
How can they possibly know the iPhone violates this patent?
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Does that mean that the IP in question is not covered by the patents which are cross-licensed between Apple and Microsoft?

I thought Apple licensed this from Cisco.

Some Android phones are next, I know that the Samsung Galaxy S 2 has the capability of using Cisco's VPN software, others have probably licensed it as well.
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post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrDoppio View Post

Does that mean that the IP in question is not covered by the patents which are cross-licensed between Apple and Microsoft?

I think the $200 million Microsoft settlement was related to a different patent.

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post #14 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

A successful patent troll.

if by successful you mean that they got money off someone then yes.

but that doesn't mean they were or are in the right.

Apple may be more than willing to take the fight to the end and show that either they have prior art for what they did that invalidates this patent or any notion of offense. that they are using a totally different method than the one in the patent and said company can't claim ownership of the idea of a VPN or that the method in the patent is so basic to the notion of a VPN and secure communication that it should fall under FRAND and Apple tried to license it and was refused so it is the other side that has committed an offense. Or they could go with the whole "this is so basic it should be allowed as a patent" defense and could win
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post

How can they possibly know the iPhone violates this patent?

They don't and it likely doesn't but they want to include it to make it look like a gross and flagrant violation that should cost Apple millions in damages. It's as typical a tactic for a patent troll as filing in East Texas
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

if by successful you mean that they got money off someone then yes.

but that doesn't mean they were or are in the right.

My use of the pejorative troll indicates my feelings about these E. District of Texas lawsuit filers. And yes, by successful I mean getting $200 million from MS.
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post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

'A' method, which apparently Apple is employing through its range of OSes without the proper licensing. It's a little hard to buy but I guess it's possible.

Ummm Apple's VPN is the result of working with Cisco. So if this company thinks it's a viable patent why do they not go after Cisco?

Oh right... Cisco would pound them to ashes.
post #18 of 25
Why? So many patents being sued on. Maybe they should sue Linksys. Don't their new routers have this capability? Of maybe they should sue the Government, don't they have this capability. Maybe we should sue them for making us read this stupid law suit article.
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post #19 of 25
We need to start a national referendum - it's time to give East Texas back to its rightful owners.... Mexico.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

We need to start a national referendum - it's time to give East Texas back to its rightful owners.... Mexico.

Actually Mexico lost that claim right around San Jacinto. Texas was a nation when it joined the United States. But historically east Texas has been a hideout for outlaws - swamps, thickets, and pine woods make for a good place to lay low.

We've always been at war with Eastasia...

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We've always been at war with Eastasia...

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post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post

Why? So many patents being sued on. Maybe they should sue Linksys. Don't their new routers have this capability? Of maybe they should sue the Government, don't they have this capability. Maybe we should sue them for making us read this stupid law suit article.

See my comment about Cisco as they make the Linksys brand.
post #22 of 25
I say we fire that judge of the court in Eastern Texas.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericblr View Post

I say we fire that judge of the court in Eastern Texas.

I say we let Texas secede from the nation.
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post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I say we let Texas secede from the nation.

I say not.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ericblr View Post

I say we fire that judge of the court in Eastern Texas.

I say it is good idea
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