The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas released a Final Judgment on Monday in which it establishes that Apple’s motions were denied in an ongoing patent infringement case against VirnetX Inc. The Court also ruled that Apple must pay $439.7 million to the FaceTime patent holders.
The announcement comes after years of legal feuds between the two companies. VirnetX has come to be known in the tech industry as a patent troll that only dedicates itself to milking money out of big companies that somehow infringe the patents they own.
Apple reportedly plans to appeal the Court’s decision on the case, and if the Court rules in their favor, they could substantially reduce the amount of money they have to pay or even be left off the hook legally and financially.
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) October 16, 2017
Why does Apple have to pay VirnetX so much?
VirnetX first filed suit against Apple in 2010, claiming the Cupertino firm had infringed the patents for VPN on Demand, iMessage, and FaceTime, all of which belong to the infamous company.
They won in 2012, and the court awarded them $368 million on that occasion. In a process that immediately followed, VirnetX was fighting the FaceTime claim alone as more brand products continued to be released with the app preinstalled.
At the time, the iPhone 5 and new generations of iPad and Mac computers were coming out, and they constituted revenue that VirnetX did not perceive since they did not license the FaceTime patent to Apple. Now, those numbers have grown by a lot with the introduction of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
Originally, VirnetX wanted $1.20 for every FaceTime-carrying device Apple has sold since the iPhone 5. The Court, however, upped that number by 50% and slapped legal costs and fees for the entire process, which amount to the outrageous $439.7 million they have to pay.
— The Verge (@verge) October 16, 2017
Apple might end up paying more or nothing at all
Of course, after seven years of legal feuds, Apple is more than willing to take the case to the Court of Appeals in search of some sort of remedy that leaves them off the hook. This happened at the beginning of this second lawsuit when it filed for a mistrial after being found guilty of patent infringement.
If a different jury says they, in fact, are not liable for payment to VirnetX over the FaceTime patents, then it is all clear for Apple until the other party decides whether or not to pursue further legal counteraction.
However, if they are proven wrong again in that scenario, Apple could get caught in a loop of more and more payments as time continues to pass and more iPhones and brand devices with FaceTime on them continue to be sold. This only adds to the potential final tally, which was originally broken because it was too much at over $600 million.