Apple files yet another appeal against $503m FaceTime patent payout

www.theregister.co.uk | 1/29/2019 | Staff
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Apple has filed its fifth appeal against a half-billion award, claiming that it redesigned its FaceTime system to avoid infringing VirnetX's network security patents.

The filing is particularly timely given the fact that on Monday Apple blocked group Facetime chats globally after a bonkers bug was revealed that let miscreants call you and secretly listen in to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac's audio before you picked up via the app. A software fix is due to land this week.

Apple - VirnetX - Network - Protocol - Patents

Anyway, back in 2012, Apple was ordered to cough up $368m for infringing on four of VirnetX's network protocol patents (US 7,418,504 and 7,921,211) with its FaceTime videoconferencing app and iMessage. Microsoft had previously been sued over the same patents and had agreed to pay $200m but Apple refused and went to great lengths to avoid the patents in question.

That included redesigning FaceTime to get around the offending patents, even cutting off some of its own users when they didn't install a software update that changed how FaceTime worked. Apple claimed the lack of service was a bug when in fact it looks like a conscious decision to avoid the patents: the company is being sued by affected users over that one.

Cook - Co - Challenge - VirnetX - Claims

Cook & Co then embarked on a no-holds-barred legal challenge to VirnetX's claims. It proceeded to lose its cases in court and appeals courts time and time again, each time with the damages rising.

In this latest appeal, Apple claims that that controversial redesign means that it shouldn't have to pay VirnetX, claiming that the company misled the court and the jury in the subsequent case: "VirnetX then pivoted to claim construction and infringement theories that are unsupported by, and indeed inconsistent with, the patents and the evidence."

Judge - District - Court - Nonetheless - VirnetX

It blames the judge too: "The district court nonetheless allowed VirnetX to parlay its improper theories...
(Excerpt) Read more at: www.theregister.co.uk
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