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Apple's FaceTime workarounds for VirnetX patent suit causing complaints, costs $2.4M per month

post #1 of 107
Thread Starter 
Modifications Apple has made to its FaceTime video calling service due to a lost patent lawsuit are reportedly causing complaints from customers, as well as a hefty $2.4 million per month fee for relay server costs.

FaceTime


Along with the $368 million Apple was ordered to pay software maker VirnetX for infringing on a VPN patent with FaceTime, the Cupertino company's workarounds are reportedly causing problems with the voice calling service, according to ArsTechnica.

In November of 2012, Apple lost a patent suit leveraged by VirnetX regarding its use of a certain virtual private network property in FaceTime, which is offered as a standard iOS app that ships with all iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.

Both companies are hashing out possible royalty payments and licensing issues, though not much has been reported on the proceedings as most relevant court documents are sealed. Instead, the publication spoke to a VirnetX investor named Jeff Lease who attended a recent royalty hearing earlier in August.

It should be noted that Lease is not a legal expert and has a vested interest in VirnetX, meaning his view of the facts may inadvertently be colored. Lease's statements are based on his notes which were taken at at the jury trial and post-trial hearings.

According to Lease, prior to the VirnetX case, a large percentage of FaceTime calls were facilitated through direct connections, with only 5 to 10 percent offloaded to relay servers. Because the VirnetX patent deals mainly with VPN connections, Apple began to route all FaceTime traffic through these relay servers to avoid paying ongoing licensing fees to the software company.

With the switch, Apple is now reportedly shelling out $2.4 million per month to the Internet content distribution companies that handle the routed calls. In addition, Apple reportedly fielded over 500,000 complaints since making the backend changes, thought to have gone live in April. The exact nature of the complaints was not revealed.

The new evidence, if true, could bolster VirnetX's assertions that its patents are vital to the communications industry and are therefore worth higher royalty rates. Specific numbers were not discussed at the August hearing, but Lease said VirnetX is looking for payments of over $700 million for FaceTime.

The judge overseeing the case has yet to make a decision regarding Apple's workarounds and what the company should or should not payout in royalties.
post #2 of 107
Quote:
The new evidence, if true, could bolster VirnetX's assertions that its patents are vital to the communications industry and are therefore worth higher royalty rates. Specific numbers were not discussed at the August hearing, but Lease said VirnetX is looking for payments of over $700 million for FaceTime.

 

Actually, the vital nature would reduce the value of the royalty, per license, not raise it.

post #3 of 107
Buying and sitting on patents just to extort should be stopped.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirnetX
Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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Been using Apple since Apple ][ - Long on AAPL so biased
nMac Pro 6 Core, MacBookPro i7, MacBookPro i5, iPhones 5 and 5s, iPad Air, 2013 Mac mini, SE30, IIFx, Towers; G4 & G3.
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post #4 of 107

Apple needs to pay the piper just like Scamsung should be paying Apple. The relay servers appear to be a workaround but is it really worth it? Maybe Apple should just buy throw a billion dollars at them and buy them out.

Help! I'm trapped in a white dungeon of amazing precision and impeccable tolerances!

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Help! I'm trapped in a white dungeon of amazing precision and impeccable tolerances!

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post #5 of 107
These patent trolls need to be stopped.
post #6 of 107
Used it several times this week with no problems.
A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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A.k.a. AppleHead on other forums.
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post #7 of 107
Now, if I used FaceTime and had problems, I know who to blame, and it won't be Telus (my provider) nor will it be Apple.
post #8 of 107

Yeah, it's causing complaints. The first complaint is that this company wasn't disbanded after losing the trial, because Apple did nothing wrong.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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post #9 of 107
Can Apple appeal of the judgment?
post #10 of 107

I use FaceTime at least a few hours everyday and I never had one problem for more than a year. It's weird that people complained about this free service. One thing I learn, FaceTime kills long distant phone business. I used to call my family idevices across the pacific and costed me a lot on phone cards every month. It's free now with FaceTime. Next, FaceTime Audio will kill a lot of provider calling plans because you can FT using 3G/4G. No more running out minutes every month.

post #11 of 107

Care to back up that claim that Apple did nothing wrong with a set of facts. You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts....

post #12 of 107
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post
Care to back up that claim that Apple did nothing wrong with a set of facts. You are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts....

 

I imagine all the original threads about this crap suit cover that nicely.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #13 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

I imagine all the original threads about this crap suit cover that nicely.

Beep, beep, beep... The sound of you obfuscating and backing up....  Never mind...  You can go back to sleep.

post #14 of 107
Originally Posted by sapporobabyrtrns View Post
Beep, beep, beep... The sound of you obfuscating and backing up....  Never mind...  You can go back to sleep.

 

Oh, shut up. You don't care enough to prove me wrong, don't bother posting. 

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #15 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by ealvarez View Post

Can Apple appeal of the judgment?
I think they already made one appeal and the original judgement was upheld. There's been indications that Apple may not be done tho. They haven't posted the expense yet .

But.....

Virnet X has filed another Apple lawsuit against newer iDevices and using the same patent claims again.
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #16 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Buying and sitting on patents just to extort should be stopped.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirnetX
While you are at it, force all raw land holders to develop their land or lose it.
If we dug into this, I'll bet the original patent holders tried to license or sell and the industry told them to go pound sand.
Also, who says they sat on the patent. FaceTime hasn't been around for very long and they are well into litigation, which takes years.
post #17 of 107

If Tim wants to the livingroom for Apple tv, pay the royalty and settle.  Virnetx owns the patents. Five companies have already settled.  Tim be the gentleman with ethics and do the right thing for your customers and redeem the Apple experience.

post #18 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

These patent trolls need to be stopped.
You don't understand what a troll is. A troll sues on a patent that is probably not valid but settles for so little it isn't worth putting up the fight. The troll then sues many people to make lots of money.
This case is no troll. The patent is clearly valid, clearly infringed, and Apple should clearly pay the patent owners fair value.
Don't be two faced. When Apple sued Samsung we all cheered their win because it was just. Now that Apple is on the other side doesn't mean we should cheer for the innovator to get screwed.
post #19 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Yeah, it's causing complaints. The first complaint is that this company wasn't disbanded after losing the trial, because Apple did nothing wrong.
You obviously don't understand patent law. If they infringe the patent than they owe damages. It doesn't matter if they did it innocently; if they infringe, they are infringers. There are very good reasons why the law works this way and it has served our country well for two hundred years. I dont think Apple or any of us should be advocating for mucking up the system just because we like Apple products.
post #20 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy Fiore View Post

If Tim wants to the livingroom for Apple tv, pay the royalty and settle.  Virnetx owns the patents. Five companies have already settled.  Tim be the gentleman with ethics and do the right thing for your customers and redeem the Apple experience.
Agreed. I suspect that is what Apple is doing. Tim still needs to put on his poker face and negotiate the best deal possible. Also, this will be a good reminder that Apple should be buying up these patents first. Obviously the patent was on sale to the highest bidder before the current plaintiffs got it. Apple should have bought it from the inventors instead of playing the "I dare you to sue me" game. Looks like they lost this round of the game.
post #21 of 107
Originally Posted by ash471 View Post
If they infringe the patent than they owe damages. It doesn't matter if they did it innocently; if they infringe, they are infringers.

 

My implication would be that they didn't infringe, not that infringement should go unpunished.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #22 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

. . . because Apple did nothing wrong.

 

in your world view, perhaps, but reality states Apple was found guilty of willful patent infringement.  i suspect Apple will either pay the required license cost or improve on their alternate implementation.

post #23 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

These patent trolls need to be stopped.

Please learn something about the patent system.

There's no 'patent troll' here. The patent was litigated and found to be valid and infringed. Given that it was valid and infringed, the patent owner has every right to demand payment - and to stop infringement until a deal can be worked out.

The people whining about 'patent trolls' are the ones who need to be stopped.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #24 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Buying and sitting on patents just to extort should be stopped.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VirnetX

except the people who started this company are real engineers who made some real tech while at SAIC. they originally developed it for the CIA and then took the patents they invented and started their own company to license them out

post #25 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Oh, shut up. You don't care enough to prove me wrong, don't bother posting. 

Original threads? You mean from Appleinsider? I imagine he was asking you to provide sources that Apple did not thing wrong from unbiased, non-Apple based sources.
post #26 of 107
Originally Posted by emacs72 View Post

Apple was found guilty of willful patent infringement.

 

Appeal.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already f*ed.

 

Reply
post #27 of 107
Funny how blackmail is illegal but patent trolling is not. Not saying they are exactly the same but both are forms of extortion if you ask me.
post #28 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

 

Appeal.

 

Apple has filed an appeal http://www.pcworld.com/article/2043480/apple-appeals-368-million-award-to-virnetx-in-patent-case.html almost two (2) months ago.

 

In the meantime, the verdict stands: Apple has infringed on patents owned by another company.

post #29 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by hezetation View Post

Funny how blackmail is illegal but patent trolling is not. Not saying they are exactly the same but both are forms of extortion if you ask me.

Since when is enforcing the patents which have been found to be valid and infringed 'trolling' or 'extortion'?

Obviously, you've never created anything of value or you wouldn't feel so cavalier about someone misappropriating someone else's property.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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post #30 of 107
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Originally Posted by ash471 View Post


You don't understand what a troll is. A troll sues on a patent that is probably not valid but settles for so little it isn't worth putting up the fight. The troll then sues many people to make lots of money.
This case is no troll. The patent is clearly valid, clearly infringed, and Apple should clearly pay the patent owners fair value.
Don't be two faced. When Apple sued Samsung we all cheered their win because it was just. Now that Apple is on the other side doesn't mean we should cheer for the innovator to get screwed.

 

 

You are wrong. Look at a traditional trolls. Mythical trolls hide under a bridge. Once a party crosses the bridge, the troll pops out and demand a toll or else it will kill you. Patent trolls are non practicing entities. They sit quietly by while a company creates a product that arguably infringes on an intentionally vaguely drafted patent.  Once the company's product is successful, the troll sues and threatens an injunction unless a license is taken. This is what this company did. Sat quietly by hoping Apple would violate its vague patent that nobody could find in a search. 

 

As far as the patent being valid, it is certainly not clear. Cisco was sued at the same time as Apple for violating the same patent in the same way. The Court severed the lawsuit so Apple and Cisco were sued separately.    In a separate trial, Cisco was cleared of violating the patent. The inconsistency makes no sense. Moreover, since the suit was filed the patent system was changed to allow these types of patents to be challenged. 

 

Apple is appealing the case. Time will tell what happens. 

post #31 of 107
Apple is so doomed ...












... NOT.

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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Sent from my iPhone Simulator

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post #32 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Appeal.

True, but that doesn't give them the right to continue the alleged infringement while appealing.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #33 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by TBell View Post


You are wrong. Look at a traditional trolls. Mythical trolls hide under a bridge. Once a party crosses the bridge, the troll pops out and demand a toll or else it will kill you. Patent trolls are non practicing entities. They sit quietly by while a company creates a product that arguably infringes on an intentionally vaguely drafted patent.  Once the company's product is successful, the troll sues and threatens an injunction unless a license is taken. This is what this company did. Sat quietly by hoping Apple would violate its vague patent that nobody could find in a search. 

As far as the patent being valid, it is certainly not clear. Cisco was sued at the same time as Apple for violating the same patent in the same way. The Court severed the lawsuit so Apple and Cisco were sued separately.    In a separate trial, Cisco was cleared of violating the patent. The inconsistency makes no sense. Moreover, since the suit was filed the patent system was changed to allow these types of patents to be challenged. 

Apple is appealing the case. Time will tell what happens. 

Ever hear of the guy that invented the intermittent windshield wipers? Should his patent be invalidated because he didn't start a car manufacturing company that would make cars with intermittent wipers? Not every patent can be implemented by it's owner. Some ideas are meant to be sold or licensed to other companies.
"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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"Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example" Mark Twain
"Just because something is deemed the law doesn't make it just" - SolipsismX
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post #34 of 107

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that Apple is quietly negotiating to buy their patents in toto.

 

For a service that has become core to Apple's iPhone, they won't want to be under the thumb of the IP holder and they may want to be able to leverage ownership of the IP over their competitors in the future.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #35 of 107

never mind.


Edited by Quadra 610 - 8/30/13 at 8:10pm
post #36 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

except the people who started this company are real engineers who made some real tech while at SAIC. they originally developed it for the CIA and then took the patents they invented and started their own company to license them out

 

Speaking from experience, I find it very difficult IP developed for the CIA at SAIC becomes their property, irregardless that they are included in the Patent filings as inventors.

post #37 of 107

In principle redesigning their protocol is the correct approach. There are many ways to do a video chat, there's no need to use specific techniques that someone else owns and pay them a fee.


Edited by ascii - 8/31/13 at 2:23am
post #38 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Since when is enforcing the patents which have been found to be valid and infringed 'trolling' or 'extortion'?

Since 1993, when the term patent troll was created to describe non practicing entities that just sue other companies.
Would you like to learn more?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_troll

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
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post #39 of 107

In the eastern state of Texas court the patent trolls always win.

post #40 of 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

These patent trolls need to be stopped.

Please learn something about the patent system.

There's no 'patent troll' here. The patent was litigated and found to be valid and infringed. Given that it was valid and infringed, the patent owner has every right to demand payment - and to stop infringement until a deal can be worked out.

The trolls whining about 'patent trolls' are the ones who need to be stopped.

They are a troll, Winning doesn't take that away from them. They trolled Cisco and lost. They sue everyone they think they can beat and they alway got to East Texas to try and do that.
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