Apple probably has bigger fish to fry than a protracted legal conflict with a little company called VirnetX, which is colloquially known as a patent troll. But although Cupertino could make or save billions of dollars directly and indirectly from a much fiercer war against semiconductor giant Qualcomm, it may not be wise of the smartphone profit champion to ignore the growing number of unfavorable verdicts in lawsuits filed by underdogs and industry outsiders.
The latest such ruling came from a federal jury in Texas, which found Apple guilty of infringing on four communications patents owned by Internet security software specialist and “pioneer” VirnetX. FaceTime, VPN on Demand and iMessage are the culprits, with their use on over 400 million iPhones and iPads generating $502.6 million in damages now owed by the world’s largest information technology company.
Just like similar past decisions, Apple has every intention to appeal this verdict, and a good chance of seeing it overturned. This type of back and forth has been going on ever since 2010, with several temporary VirnetX wins reversed, but a previous one upheld and its initial award actually increased from $302 million to almost $440 mil.
Still, the “patent troll” is yet to cash in a single compensation from Apple for its rich and ever-growing library of 112 US and international patents. Tim Cook & co. simply refuse to accept their defeat until exhausting all means to fight back in courts around the world.