Patent troll VirnetX just doesn’t know when to quit. The company just won a $626 million court battle over FaceTime and iMessage, but is now asking a federal judge to order that both of those services be shut down, according to a report from Law360.
VirnetX made the request on Wednesday, also asking the judge to increase the damages by another $190 million — Apple, for its part, is asking for a retrial, saying that VirnetX’s lawyers misrepresented evidence, and that the evidence presented at trial did not support any claims of infringement. Apple also said that it should not have to pay royalties to VirnetX.
This particular case stems from a ruling in February that Apple had infringed on four patents owned by VirnetX. Products from Apple that infringed include the likes of VPN on Demand, FaceTime, and iMessage. Because of this, VirnetX wants those apps and services shut down due to “lost sales and reputational harm caused by Apple’s distribution of the infringing features.”
VirnetX can be fairly characterized as a patent troll — that is, it hoards patents and, rather than using them in commerce, goes after companies that it thinks infringes on them for huge sums of money. VirnetX has been saying for a while that it intends on using the patents to market a range of products, however for now that remains to be seen, and its income comes not from products but from court cases it has won. VirnetX as a company only has around a dozen employees, who work at a small office in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, according to recent financial statements. From the outside, it hardly looks like a company developing marketable products. In the past, VirnetX has gone after Microsoft and Cisco too.
A ruling has not yet been made on the new dispute, so expect to hear more about this case. Hopefully you won’t soon wake up to find iMessage wiped from your phone.