Apple has been known to be the ruthless patent troll in the industry with lawsuits upon lawsuits laid upon companies. While some of them were justified, some were plain stupid, at least the world thought so. And now it seems like the tables have turned, sort of. A new court ruling has come out in favor of VirnetX which was fighting a patent battle with Apple over the technology used with the ever so popular FaceTime application. VirnetX is a firm based in Nevada, specializing in the telecommunications field, which explains where the issue stems from. The company holds plenty of patents related to FaceTime tech and Apple was claimed to be infringing on a few of them. As a result, the court has now passed a ruling in favor of VirnetX which means that Apple has to pay a little over $368 million in damages to the company. Apple will inevitably appeal this ruling, so don’t expect this to get over just yet. What’s interesting is that VirnetX settled with Microsoft over a similar patent for $200 million 2 years ago. But Apple decided to not settle and take this to the court instead. VirnetX initially claimed $700 million in damages, but had to be content with $368 million.
According to a report by the Financial Times – “VirnetX claims 45 patents in the US and abroad relating to real-time communications and other security technologies”. Perhaps, Apple could have learnt from Microsoft and licensed the patent out of court, which would have put an end to the whole episode once and for all. Apple’s appeal could take a few weeks or even months from now, so it is a little premature to call this a victory for VirnetX. In all fairness, Apple seems to be in the wrong here. And realistically speaking, $368 million is nothing short of spare change for a major corporation like Apple. It is rather surprising that Apple would still want to drag this further instead of settling this out of court. It’s too late for that anyways, with the court ruling passed already. We don’t see the ruling making any damage to Apple whatsoever. FaceTime is an integral part of Apple’s products (Mac and iOS), and it will certainly want to continue using them in the future. Apple hasn’t formally filed for an appeal yet, but is expected to do that fairly soon. We can almost sense Apple’s lawyers preparing a tough argument in time for their appeal.