Apple has been ordered by a federal jury to pay over $302 million in damages to VirnetX Holding Corp. for infringing the latter’s patents relating to secure communications in several of its servicesincluding FaceTime‘s video conference feature, iMessage, and VPN (Virtual Private Network) on Demand. The trial that took place in Tyler, Texas, is the third time the long-running case involving these two companies has been ruled. The casewill now be taken totheUnited States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington DC.
VirnetX is a Nevada-based companyfounded byformer employees of SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation), which develops patentable security technology relating to LTE communications for a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security.The case commenced in 2010 after VirnetX sued Apple over the latter’s alleged infringementof four of VirnetX’s patentsfor secure networks and communications links. Apple was ordered to pay $368.2 million at the time after the court ruled that the Cupertino-based company had infringed two patents. However, the suit was overturned by theU.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washinton D.C.
Afterthe second trial that ensued, Apple was ordered to pay an even larger fineof $625.6 million in February this year after a jury unanimously ruled in VirnetX’s favour. Reports said that the fine amount wasone of the highest ever sums to be ruled in a U.S. patent case, but the ruling was once again overturned by a trial judge.
In the recent trial, the jurors considered the damages caused by Apple’s infringement of the two VirnetX patents that had already been found alongside the remaining two patents. The $302.4 million fine amount was determined after finding that the companyinfringed two VirnetX patents that were in use in theFaceTime calling feature as well as for Apple’s use ofVirnetX’s technology in VPN on Demand. Apple will reportedly face another trial to determine whether the infringements were done in full knowledge, which will then decide if the fined amount will soar further. Officials related to either party areyet to comment on the matter.