A jury in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas [official website] on Wednesday ordered Apple [corporate website] to pay $368.2 million to a technology licensing company for infringing four patents related to private-network technology. In particular, the jury found that Apple's FaceTime [product backgrounder] function, which is used on its iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Mac computer products, infringed patents [Reuters report] held by VirnetX [corporate website], a commercial software and technology solutions company located in Zephyr Cove, Nevada. In its defense, Apple unsuccessfully argued that its own technology is much different than that of VirnetX, which provides only a small part of a large array of complex technological products.This is the second million-dollar verdict for VirnetX, which won a $200 million settlement [Reuters report] in 2010 from Microsoft Corp. [corporate website] regarding the same technology. Post-trial motions in the present case are expected to be heard within the coming weeks.
Apple has been embroiled in continuous patent litigation, particularly with Samsung [corporate website] in courts around the world, with multiple rulings within the last month alone. Some commentators have noted that this legal strategy has been an effort to influence the marketplace from the courtroom [JURIST op-ed]. Two weeks ago, the US International Trade Commission (ITC) [official website] ruled that that Samsung violated the Tariff Act of 1930 [JURIST report] when it infringed four intellectual property patents held by Apple. Earlier in October, the Dutch Rechtbank's-Gravenhage [official website, in Dutch] court ruled that Samsung did not infringe [JURIST report] an Apple software patent for user input and date manipulation through a "multi-touch" touch screen. Similarly, a UK court also ruled that Samsung did not infringe [JURIST report] on an Apple design patent. In mid-October, Apple appealed a Tokyo District Court ruling [JURIST report] which dismissed the company's claim that Samsung had infringed on its patents. At the beginning of the month, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit [official website] reversed an injunction [JURIST report] against Samsung that prevented it from selling its Galaxy Nexus product.