Apple Whacked With|$625M Patent Penalty

TYLER, Texas (CN) – An East Texas federal jury Wednesday slammed Apple with a $625 million verdict, finding its iOS operating system’s FaceTime and virtual private network feature violate a Nevada software company’s patents.
     After a week-long trial before U.S. District Judge Robert W. Schroeder III, the eight-person jury unanimously concluded that Apple was “willful” in infringing on four patents held by Virnetx.
     Virnetx has sued Apple twice since 2010.
     An Tyler federal jury awarded Virnetx $368 million in damages for patent infringement in 2012, but the Federal Circuit tossed the damage award in 2014 and remanded for retrial.
     During retrial, Apple did not contest the claim that from 2009 to 2013 the VPN feature infringed on Virnetx’s patents. The jury awarded $335 million in damages for that period. It awarded an additional $290.7 million in damages for infringement since the first trial.
     Apple vowed to appeal the Wednesday verdict, saying its employees “independently designed” the technology and that it had received patents for it.
     “We are surprised and disappointed by the verdict,” the company said in a statement. “Cases like this simply reinforce the desperate need for patent reform.”
     Virnetx’s attorney Jason Cassady, with Caldwell Cassady in Dallas, said it was “very emotional” when the award was announced in court.
     “The jury saw what we have been saying all along: Apple has been infringing VirnetX’s patented technology for years,” he said in a statement.

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