Apple to Pay VirnetX $368 Million after Losing FaceTime Lawsuit
November 7, 2012 9:40 AM
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(Source: The Week)
Appeals are undoubtedly in the works
Apple has been involved in a legal battle with a company called VirnetX over alleged patent infringement involving FaceTime video calling features. VirnetX is the same company that won $200 million in a settlement from Microsoft in 2010.
U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas heard the case. This district court is commonly used for
patent infringement suits
in the tech world, and in this case, VirnetX alleged that FaceTime was violating four of its patents relating to private networks. The case specifically targeted the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad along with Mac computers.
The patents at the core of the case have to do with the use of a domain-name service to set up virtual private networks allowing website owners to interact with customers securely. VirnetX was seeking $708 million in damages.
The company was awarded damages in the amount of $368.2 million.
“For years Apple refused to pay fair value for the VirnetX patents,” Doug Cawley, a lawyer with McKool Smith in Dallas who represents VirnetX, said in closing arguments. “Apple says they don’t infringe. But Apple developers testified that they didn’t pay any attention to anyone’s patents when developing their system.”
“Apple does not owe money to VirnetX,” Danny Williams, a lawyer with Williams, Morgan & Amerson in Houston who represents Apple, told the jury. “VirnetX is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products.”
VirnetX and Apple have another case pending before the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington. VirnetX also has claims pending against Cisco Systems, Avaya Inc. and Siemens Enterprise Communications that will begin in March.
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RE: This comment say it for all developers....
11/7/2012 8:21:38 PM
According to patent law, even for a valid patent, ignorance is partially an excuse. Ignorance will save you from having to pay triple damages.
Even with the Internet, you cannot search for software patents pretty quickly, since every single line you write could potentially be infringing some ridiculous, invalid patent. Clearly making an exhaustive internet search on each of the 20 million lines of code of your program and every possible combination of them is not going to be anywhere near quick or reasonable.
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