Apple wins VirnetX patent appeal -- but one verdict awaits

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple has been battling VirnetX in court for over a decade over patents, and on Thursday, the US Court of Appeals handed Apple a victory in the latest skirmish.

VirnetX trial
VirnetX trial


In 2010, VirnetX launched a legal dispute by alleging numerous instances of patent infringement related to FaceTime, VPN, and iMessage services. A Texas court fined Apple $368 million in 2012 for violating one patent, but the ruling was overturned almost two years later.

In the most recent update, Apple convinced the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to invalidate the two patents by upholding a decision from the USPTO's Patent Trial and Appeal Board, according to Reuters.

It might overturn the $502 million fine that Apple was ordered to pay in 2020. The company separately appealed that verdict, but the Federal Circuit still has to rule in that case.

"If the court upholds the [USPTO's] decision, we have a big problem," VirnetX attorney Jeff Lamken of MoloLamken said at the September hearing. "I don't think we have an enforceable judgment."

The case has gone through numerous appeals and rulings. With the Federal Circuit's decision on Thursday, Apple and VirnetX await a final decision in Apple's appeal of the initial verdict out of East Texas.

VirnetX had separately won a $302 million verdict against Apple in 2016, which was increased to $440 million later on.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member
    The other big tech companies know the patent system is corrupt and they don't fight. They pay up, negotiate licenses, whatever they have to do to settle the damn lawsuits. Apple always fights to the bitter end, almost always loses, winds up paying up and negotiating licenses, etc. Why are non-practicing patent trolls allowed to do what they do? As usual, follow the money and lawyer's fees. It's not going to change because lawyers make the laws and they make the laws so they can make money off the laws they make.
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    mknelsonmknelson Posts: 1,128member
    lkrupp said:
    The other big tech companies know the patent system is corrupt and they don't fight. They pay up, negotiate licenses, whatever they have to do to settle the damn lawsuits. Apple always fights to the bitter end, almost always loses, winds up paying up and negotiating licenses, etc. Why are non-practicing patent trolls allowed to do what they do? As usual, follow the money and lawyer's fees. It's not going to change because lawyers make the laws and they make the laws so they can make money off the laws they make.
    Technically VirnetX isn't a patent troll any more - they released a video conferencing software in 2022…  :D
    ronndavenwatto_cobrajcs2305
  • Reply 3 of 9
    There should be a law against non practising entities (patent trolls making money off suing others) owning any patents. Only companies that would actually use the patents should be able to purchase them. 
    jony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 9
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,008member
    Anilu_777 said:
    There should be a law against non practising entities (patent trolls making money off suing others) owning any patents. Only companies that would actually use the patents should be able to purchase them. 
    No.  This is wrong in so many ways.  Property rights are for everyone.  Patents are valuable property and lots of small inventors hold patents and need to get paid for their inventions when big companies use them.  

    I wish the phrase “non practicing entity” were abolished.  It is meaningless and has no part in a reasonable discussion on patents and property rights.  

    A patent is valid or not and by valuable or not, regardless of the status of the invented/owner.  Whether they personally implement the patented idea or license it to others.  

    The real issue is if patents are being issued for things that shouldn’t be patentable.   


     
    edited March 2023 watto_cobrajcs2305
  • Reply 5 of 9
    chadbag said:
    Anilu_777 said:
    There should be a law against non practising entities (patent trolls making money off suing others) owning any patents. Only companies that would actually use the patents should be able to purchase them. 
    No.  This is wrong in so many ways.  Property rights are for everyone.  Patents are valuable property and lots of small inventors hold patents and need to get paid for their inventions when big companies use them.  

    I wish the phrase “non practicing entity” were abolished.  It is meaningless and has no part in a reasonable discussion on patents and property rights.  

    A patent is valid or not and by valuable or not, regardless of the status of the invented/owner.  Whether they personally implement the patented idea or license it to others.  

    The real issue is if patents are being issued for things that shouldn’t be patentable.   


     
    Your “small time inventor who deserves to get paid” story is such a tired joke.  Nearly all of these cases are well funded (often private equity) firms who prey on the corpses of dying companies, buying up their patent portfolios for the express purpose of filing frivolous (but very expensive to defend) infringement lawsuits.

    The current patent law system that allows this to take place is broken, stifles innovation and hurts owners and shareholders of companies that actually make good products.
    bageljoeydanoxjony0watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 9
    1348513485 Posts: 357member
    greginprague said:
    Your “small time inventor who deserves to get paid” story is such a tired joke.  Nearly all of these cases are well funded (often private equity) firms who prey on the corpses of dying companies, buying up their patent portfolios for the express purpose of filing frivolous (but very expensive to defend) infringement lawsuits.
    The current patent law system that allows this to take place is broken, stifles innovation and hurts owners and shareholders of companies that actually make good products.

    Your understanding of patents, patent law, property rights, and "non-practicing entities" is woefully inadequate. You are not alone in these forums, as many (even in this thread) don't have a clue about these things and continue to spout misinformation on this topic. 

    I've tried to explain it many times, being a small business patent holder who has both assigned patents to several large corporations, and brought legal weight to bear against a large multinational corporation, which I won. I'm sorry if you think this is "such a tired joke" just because you don't understand it. But I'm not going to explain it again because it falls on deaf ears of people who don't want to be confused by the facts. Patents are valid in whole or in part, or not valid in whole or in part. A suit over royalties or licensing has nothing to do with the patent office. Patents are property just like your car or house, with the same rights of ownership and the ability to buy or sell it.

    Your trope about "the current patent system": it--the worldwide patent process virtually the same in every country--does NOT stifle innovation, and is NOT broken, as the 3.5 million patents filed every year demonstrates. The fact that an infinitesimally small number of patents ever become part of a lawsuit says the "system" works just fine.
    chadbag
  • Reply 7 of 9
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 2,008member
    chadbag said:
    Anilu_777 said:
    There should be a law against non practising entities (patent trolls making money off suing others) owning any patents. Only companies that would actually use the patents should be able to purchase them. 
    No.  This is wrong in so many ways.  Property rights are for everyone.  Patents are valuable property and lots of small inventors hold patents and need to get paid for their inventions when big companies use them.  

    I wish the phrase “non practicing entity” were abolished.  It is meaningless and has no part in a reasonable discussion on patents and property rights.  

    A patent is valid or not and by valuable or not, regardless of the status of the invented/owner.  Whether they personally implement the patented idea or license it to others.  

    The real issue is if patents are being issued for things that shouldn’t be patentable.   


     
    Your “small time inventor who deserves to get paid” story is such a tired joke.  Nearly all of these cases are well funded (often private equity) firms who prey on the corpses of dying companies, buying up their patent portfolios for the express purpose of filing frivolous (but very expensive to defend) infringement lawsuits.

    The current patent law system that allows this to take place is broken, stifles innovation and hurts owners and shareholders of companies that actually make good products.
    The “tired joke” is all the ignorant people complaining about big companies having to pay non practicing entities for use of their technologies.  


    How do you think the small time inventor gets paid? A well funded entity BUYS the technology (patent) from him. Or a manufacturer.  Someone.  

    Property rights don’t end when someone else wants to use your property.  “Non practicing entity” is immaterial to whether you have to pay someone to use their tech. 

    The real problem is “invalid patents” being granted.  That’s what’s broken.  Diminishing property rights  or marginalizing them won’t fix that. 
  • Reply 8 of 9
    danoxdanox Posts: 3,066member
    chadbag said:
    Anilu_777 said:
    There should be a law against non practising entities (patent trolls making money off suing others) owning any patents. Only companies that would actually use the patents should be able to purchase them. 
    No.  This is wrong in so many ways.  Property rights are for everyone.  Patents are valuable property and lots of small inventors hold patents and need to get paid for their inventions when big companies use them.  

    I wish the phrase “non practicing entity” were abolished.  It is meaningless and has no part in a reasonable discussion on patents and property rights.  

    A patent is valid or not and by valuable or not, regardless of the status of the invented/owner.  Whether they personally implement the patented idea or license it to others.  

    The real issue is if patents are being issued for things that shouldn’t be patentable.   


     
    Your “small time inventor who deserves to get paid” story is such a tired joke.  Nearly all of these cases are well funded (often private equity) firms who prey on the corpses of dying companies, buying up their patent portfolios for the express purpose of filing frivolous (but very expensive to defend) infringement lawsuits.

    The current patent law system that allows this to take place is broken, stifles innovation and hurts owners and shareholders of companies that actually make good products.
    Patent trolls only really exist in the United States most other places in the world if you bring a lawsuit and you lose you pay all legal fees, but not in America. Reform is needed.
    jony0spheric
  • Reply 9 of 9
    It should have been mentioned in the story that this case was originally handled in the Eastern Texas division of the US Federal Courts (in Marshall, Texas). This court has gone out of its way to roll out the red carpet for patent trolls with easy wins and huge payouts, both of which are often overturned on appeal - but only for companies with pockets deep enough to go through that process.

    There is plenty of additional information on this all over the Internet, for example the 2017 Bloomberg article "
    The Town That Trolls Built" or the 2021 Allen American (newspaper for a suburb of Dallas) article "Despite changes to the law, a Texas federal court has been a bridge for ‘patent trolls’ critics say" or the 2014 Electronic Frontier Foundation article "Why Do Patent Trolls Go to Texas? It’s Not for the BBQ."
    edited February 20
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