Apple has found itself at the wrong end of a dragging patent dispute with VirnetX, the company credited for building and designing various secured communication protocols. Apple has been ordered to pay the latter, a massive $625 million in damages.
The case is a couple of years old and begin with VirnetX accusing Apple of violating its intellectual property rights by using the former’s secure communications protocols, without its permission. And apparently, Apple had been deploying this technology in various departments, including FaceTime, iMessage and VPN services, over a multitude of devices.
To cut a long story short, VirnetX ended up winning $368.2 million in damages from Apple in 2012. The judges ruled that FaceTime had indeed violated U.S. Patent No. 8,05,181 for a “Method for Establishing Secure Communication Link Between Computers of Virtual Private Network.” However, the decision was scrapped before any transfer of funds could take place, due to an appeal by Apple.
Apple also went ahead and redesigned FaceTime — at no slight cost to it, both financially and otherwise — however, VirnetX hung on, stating that the iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina display, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPod Touch with Retina display, and the latest Mac notebooks and desktops, were still in violation.
Well, the wait has finally yielded fruits and Apple will end up paying the company almost double of what it was ordered to pay in 2012. The decision was taken by a East Texas Federal District Court jury, which had been considering this case since a week.
To add a sting to the slap, the jury reached this decision, unanimously.
Apple is not the only company that has had to pay damages to VirnetX, however. Microsoft had also found itself using technologies without the required permissions and had ended up paying VirnetX a staggering $200 million, for an out of the court settlement.
Talk about reaping rich rewards!