Apple seems to be in trouble at the moment. The makers of iPhone have been instructed to pay a whopping amount of $502.6M to VirnetX Holding Corporation – a Nevada company notoriously known as the patent troll – in a legal battle that has been going on since 2012.
The Apple-VirnetX Trial
According to a new report from Bloomberg, a federal judge in Texas has ordered Apple for patent infringement and directs to pay the said amount in damages to VirnetX.
VirnetX, having no meaningful source of income other than patent litigation, is satisfied with the jury’s order. The company filed a suit against Apple back in 2010 when it found that Apple had infringed on four of their patents related to online secure communications that were specifically used in apps like iMessage, VPN on Demand, and FaceTime. Since then, the battle between two companies continue. There have been multiple appeals, suits, and countersuits. The recent appeal was made in October 2017 when Apple was instructed to pay $439.7 million.
The team at VirnetX believes the damages put across Apple are fair and based on the sales of more than 400 million Apple devices.
After the verdict was announced recently, Kendal Larsen, CEO of VirnetX said, ‘the evidence was clear. Tell the truth and you don’t have to worry about anything.’
Effect on the Stock Market
Due to this news, VirnetX’s stock has increased as much as 44 percent, according to Bloomberg. The company happened to close at $4.10 per share last Tuesday. The company reported having only $1 million revenue back in 2017. It has been speculated that if the company wins the suit against Apple, there will be a massive increase in the company’s profits.
On the other hand, Apple does not seem to have much effect on their stock after the news started circulating around. For the tech-giant, the amount of $502.6M is little compared to the company’s revenues. In February, the company generated around $20 billion revenue just in the first quarter.
Short-Lived Victory for VirnetX
The jury verdict in VirnetX’s favor could only be a short-lived victory and may not stand on appeal. Since the Supreme Court has been taking stern measures on patent trolls, it is possible that the ruling will eventually be struck down.
According to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, the patents are invalid, in cases that are present before the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington.
The Federal Circuit, which deals all the patent appeals, has declined to put this trial on further hold, declaring it was so far along that a verdict would come before a concluding validity decision.
Apple has not given any comment on this ruling as yet. However, putting Apple’s choice words for VirnetX into the context: the company continuously moves the boundary, asking for more and more and more. For Apple, VirnetX has not stopped trying making appeals before the court and always asks for more.