VirnetX is a company based right here in Texas. The company holds numerous patents relating to cell phone technology such as iMessage, FaceTime and VPN on demand. It sued Apple for infringing on those patents and won. Now, a federal judge has ruled that the company's patent law claims be retried.
In 2012, VirnetX won a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple regarding its VPN on demand patent and was awarded $368.2 million in damages. Earlier this year, another jury awarded the Texas company $290.7 million in damages for a separate patent infringement claim regarding VirnetX's patents relating to FaceTime and iMessage, along with a retrial of the damages portion of the 2012 litigation. Apple appealed, and a federal judge vacated the verdict and remanded both claims back to the trial court. The judge ruled that the two claims should be tried separately in order to avoid creating confusion for the jury.
The crux of the issue on appeal was statements made by VirnetX's attorney at the second trial. Even though he was allowed to mention the 2012 victory, the judge ruled that his timing was inappropriate. The statements created an unfair bias against Apple in that second trial. The first retrial is currently scheduled for Sept. 26.
Patent law claims do not always go as smoothly as plaintiffs would like. Even when a verdict is entered by the trial court in favor of a plaintiff, the defendant or defendants might be able to appeal it. Patents exist to protect an individual or company's interest in an idea, and they have right to defend them in court. However, they may also need to take into consideration that it could be a lengthy process, especially when millions of dollars are at stake.
Source: techspot.com, "Judge invalidates $625 million VirnetX verdict against Apple, retrial set for September", Jose Vilches, Aug. 2, 2016