Back in 2010, Steve Jobs announced they would launch a new software to allow voice chat and video calls on IPhones. The app was named FaceTime and was released in late 2010. The success was immediate, and in 2011, the app expanded to the IPod Touch and Mac computers.
However, a small software developing company called VirnetX sued Apple in 2011 for stealing their patent. VirnetX’s CEO, Kendall Larsen, took the process very seriously as he believed Apple used different software protocols his company had licensed before.
VirnetX indicated that Apple had stolen communication protocols and data decryption protocols under the patent numbers 6,502,135 and 7,418,504. At the moment, only the IPhone 4 and the IPod Touch 4th generation are using content protected by copyrights laws.
Judge Leonard Davis was in charge of the case in the Eastern District of Texas. He ruled for VirnetX and ordered Apple to pay $120 million to the suitor. Apple immediately appealed the case to a higher court.
VirnetX also sued Microsoft, Cisco, and Avaya for patent infringement
The second time both companies met in court was in 2012. That time, VirnetX included two more patents in the list, 7,921,211 and 7,490,151. The company expanded the lawsuit to include the newly released IPhone 5, IPad Mini and the IPod Touch from the 4th generation. Also, VirnetX added IMessage to the applications which used its technology.
VirnetX also won this dispute, and the judge ordered Apple to pay monthly fees until the companies reached an agreement. Apple appealed once again, but this time, the company turned to the U.S. International Trade Commission.
VirnetX sued other companies at the same time for similar violations including Microsoft, Cisco, and Avaya, to name a few. All these conflicts resulted for the petitioner. By that time the debt from Apple summed $368.2 million.
Apple will take the case to the National Appeals Court
A Federal Judge from the Eastern District of Texas has ordered Apple to pay $302.4 million to VirnetX. The decision came after the Judge ruled for VirnetX in its trial against Apple for the patents of its “FaceTime” app.
The judge and the jury reached the verdict after an extended analysis made by the U.S. International Trade Commission.
Apple has not issued an official statement. However, the company’s argument in the court remains the same. Apple claims the patents over the communication protocols from VirnetX have nothing in common with the internal structure of FaceTime.
Nonetheless, this is not the end of the legal issue according to Apple’s lawyers who are going to initiate an appealing process. This new process will be taken to the National Appeals Court during the next couple of months and will provide a final decision.