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Apple wins partial reprieve over VirnetX $503 million patent case

A US appeals court has upheld two rulings that Apple infringed VirnetX patents, but reversed the decision on two others. The nearly decade-long legal case must now go back a Texas judge who will consider further hearings.

FaceTime, an Apple technology at the center of one of VirnetX's patent infringement lawsuits

FaceTime, an Apple technology at the center of one of VirnetX's patent infringement lawsuits


A Texas jury's previous decision that Apple must pay VirnetX Holdings Corp $503 million for patent infringement has been overturned. The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed that Apple had infringed two VirnetX patents regarding secure telecommunications technology, including FaceTime, used in the iPhone, but upheld two others.

According to Reuters, the decision means that the court is now returning the case to a Texas judge for further proceedings.

That judge may decide to recalculate the sum Apple is to pay VirnetX. However he or she may also conduct a new trial, limited specifically to determining damages.

This would mean that the case, first filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, in 2010, would be heading back to court.

Last month, a Federal Court panel suggested that the damages awarded could be affected by patent claims still being determined.

This is not the first time that Apple has had a sum of damages vacated. The first lawsuit in 2010 saw the company ordered to pay $368 million for infringing one patent, only for that to be reversed two years later.

A 2016 retrial saw the damages rise to $625 million, but that trial was claimed to be unfair because of jury confusion. Two more retrials followed before an April 2018 ruling appeared to conclude the case.