Apple must pay $625 million for infringing patents with FaceTime and iMessage

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Apple must pay $625.6 million to a patent holding firm, a US court has ruled, for infringing on a number of its intellectual properties. A jury ruled unanimously in favor of VirnetX — which reportedly only makes money through suing for patent violations — agreeing that Apple had infringed communications protocol patents in its FaceTime, VPN on Demand, and iMessage services, as well as in the devices that used them.

This is the second time VirnetX has sued Apple for the use of these specific patents, after the company previously won a judgement of $368 million from the tech giant in 2012, and almost scoring a “running royalty” of one percent of iPhone and iPad sales. Apple was forced to redesign FaceTime after the jury ruled in favor of VirnetX, but that verdict was later thrown out in 2014, when an appellate court stated the decision was “tainted.” This time around, VirnetX — regularly described as a “patent troll” — wanted $532 million, but bumped that figure up during legal proceedings as Apple continued to use the protocols in question.

Both cases were tried in the East Texas Federal District Court, a region notoriously friendly to patent owners. The company has used courts in the district to go after other big tech firms in the past, suing them for infringement of its wide range of patents — in 2010, the company scored $200 million direct from Microsoft in an out-of-court settlement, and in 2014, it successfully sued for $23 million from Skype.

Rich McCormick

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