VirnetX Holdings shares skyrocketed more than 30% on Monday after it was revealed that the company had won a patent case against Apple Inc. (AAPL). The stock climbed as high as $5.13 before retreating a bit, but this was still a big gain for the company.
Apple ordered to pay VirnetX $302m
Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s courtroom patent battles with Samsung are known very well, but the iPhone maker does get involved in cases with other companies as well. In this particular case, a federal judge has overturned two rulings that had previously gone in Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s favor. The iPhone maker has now been ordered to pay $302.4 million to VirnetX for infringing upon a patent related to VPN-on-demand and the original FaceTime video conferencing app.
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Reuters reports that the judge ruled on Friday that Apple Inc. (AAPL) had used features patented by VirnetX without receiving the company’s permission. VirnetX filed the original case against Apple Inc. (AAPL) in 2010 in Texas over four patents related to virtual private networks (VPNs) and secure communications.
In 2012, a jury awarded the patent holding company $386.2 million, but a federal appeals court overturned part of that ruling. The court stated that the trial judge did not correctly instruct the jurors about how to calculate the damages. Another jury ruled in VirnetX’s favor again in February in a case that combined two of the company’s lawsuits against Apple Inc. (AAPL). The jury ordered the iPhone maker to pay $625.6 million, which is one of the highest amounts awarded in a patent case in the U.S., according to Reuters.
Round and round in court
A judge threw that ruling out as well, stating that jurors in that trial might have gotten confused because of the many references to the previous case. The judge also stated that all those references to the past case were unfair for Apple Inc. (AAPL).
In the trial that ended with the judge’s ruling on Friday, jurors were told to calculate damages on two patents owned by VirnetX. A court had already ruled that Apple Inc. (AAPL) had infringed upon those patents. The jurors were also told to decide whether Apple Inc. (AAPL) had infringed upon two other patents and if so, to calculate damages for those infringements. The $302.4 million that the jury ordered the iPhone maker to pay was about what VirnetX had been expecting to receive in the case.
The company received the four patents involved in this case from Science Applications International in 2006, according to court documents.
The battle between Apple and VirnetX continues
This is not the final word between the two companies. Court documents show that Apple Inc. (AAPL) could be ordered to pay out even more in damages because the next step is a trial to determine whether it willfully infringed upon the patents that are included in the case. If the company is found to have been willful in its infringement, it might have to pay even more money.
Additionally, there is still another case pending between the two companies as VirnetX has sued Apple Inc. (AAPL) over its iMessage messaging app and some of its new security features.
Samsung and Apple Inc. (AAPL) have been suing each other right and left all over the world, with rulings going on both directions on different occasions, but it’s a big deal for a smaller company to win damages from Apple Inc. (AAPL). Of course it could have something to do with the fact that the case was filed in a court in Texas that is widely known for ruling in favor of plaintiffs in patent cases, according to Reuters.
Where Samsung is concerned, there has been so much courtroom drama that the two companies have been ordered to make legal peace, but there seems little chance of that happening. Earlier this year, we heard that the Supreme Court would be taking over at least one of the patent cases between Samsung and Apple Inc. (AAPL).
Shares of the iPhone maker slipped by as much as 0.51% to $112.47 during regular trading hours on Monday.