US court fines Apple for Facetime patent infringement


Apple is facing a bill of $368.2 million for infringing four patents owned by US-based security software company VirnetX.

The US District Court Eastern District of Texas ruled on November 6 that Apple’s Facetime video chat tool infringed the patents, which cover technologies for secure communication over the Internet.

VirnetX, which had asked for about $900 million in damages, has threatened to try to block Apple from selling products that incorporate the technology. Apple can appeal against the judgment to federal court.

The software company said several of Apple’s desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone computers, all of which used Facetime, infringed the four patents. Apple denied claims of infringement, saying the protected techniques had played a minimal part in its systems.

Days after the ruling, VirnetX filed another lawsuit against Apple, alleging more of the company’s products, such as the iPhone 5—not included in the first suit—infringed the same four patents.

VirnetX has a separate case against Apple pending at the US-based International TradeCommission, claiming infringement of a patent covering a secure connection between two computers over a network. In this suit, VirnetX aims to halt the importation of Apple products into the US.

The software company won $200 million in damages from Microsoft in 2010 over claims on the same technology. It also has similar claims pending against Cisco and Siemens.

After the ruling, VirnetX’s shares rose to $33.61, their highest level in three years.

This article was first published on 01 December 2012 in World IP Review

apple, facetime, virnetx, us district court

Trademarks and Brands Online