VirnetX Goes After Apple for iMessage, FaceTime – PC Magazine

5 months ago Comments Off on VirnetX Goes After Apple for iMessage, FaceTime – PC Magazine

Say what you will about the business techniques of VirnetX, a company that has been called a patent troll by quite a few publications as a result of its recent (and successful) patent lawsuit against Apple. Said lawsuit centered on four patents the company owns and Apple allegedly violated, and it netted VirnetX a $625.6 million payday when an East Texas jury found for the company, and not Apple, in February of this year.

And if you think that’s the end of the entire affair for Apple, you’d be wrong. VirnetX is going back to the buffet for seconds, asking the judge presiding over the case to increase the damages by a minimum of $190 million. It also wants the judge to issue a permanent injunction that forces Apple to remove a few key features from its future devices.

“The irreparable harm caused by Apple’s infringement can only be rectified by removing the patented technology [from] the accused products,” reads a filing by VirnetX’s lawyers.

“Apple does not dispute that it has no non-infringing alternatives. Thus, this Court may appropriately conclude that the narrowest injunction necessary to afford VirnetX complete relief is to require Apple to altogether remove the infringing Facetime, iMessage, and always-mode VPN On Demand features from its devices. Nonetheless, as explained more fully in the attached proposed judgment, VirnetX requests only that the Court remove the infringing functionality of these features for devices that have not been accounted for in a damages award. Apple may do so by implementing a noninfringing alternative such as relaying Facetime calls.”

VirnetX makes it a point to clarify in its filing that the company isn’t asking Apple to remove services like Facetime and iMessage from existing Apple products—a bit of a logistical nightmare for Apple, should the request prove successful. Its demand only applies to products that Apple might sell at some future point. That’s not much better, but it is something.

We don’t yet know what response Apple might have, as Ars Technica reports that its related documents are all under seal.

Apple is currently appealing the February ruling, and has even filed for a mistrial. In its argument for the latter, the company claims that the closing arguments made by VirnetX lawyers were “outside the evidence and blatantly misrepresented the testimony of Apple’s witnesses.”

As for claims that VirnetX is just a patent troll trying to profit off of patents it owns without actually having any products associated with the patents whatsoever, CEO Kendall Larsen wrote a blog post in early April to defend his company’s actions:

“It always astonishes me when the reporters routinely write that VirnetX “has no products.” Have they never heard of the Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store? All you have to do is look in the app store on your iPhone and you’ll find the Gabriel Collaboration Suite, a set of integrated applications that enable secure messaging, secure voice and video calling, secure mail and secure encrypted file sharing with any other device. We created and sell these products,” he wrote.

“You know those blue (not green) text bubbles you see when you use Apple’s iMessage? That shows you are using a messaging system secured by our technology. We invented it. Unlike Apple’s iMessage, however, Gabriel allows you to get secure blue-bubble text, chat and video with any device using any operating system — be it a phone, tablet, PC or Mac — rather than only with other iPhones.”

Larsen also added that VirnetX currently licenses its technology to a number of other high-profile companies, including Microsoft, Siemens, and NEC.

VirnetX Goes After Apple for iMessage, FaceTime – PC Magazine