Patent trollin’: Apple denied new trial after $503 million VirnetX patent verdict

A Texas federal judge this week denied Apple Inc.’s motion for a new trial after a jury found in October that it should pay $502.8 million for infringing VirnetX Inc.’s network security patents, according to an opinion that was filed under seal except for a one-page order, reports Law360 (a subscription is required to read the entire article).

In November 2020, an Eastern District of Texas jury ruled that Apple should pay US$502.8 million for infringing VirnetX’s network security patents, wrapping up a damages retrial held after a nearly identical award was thrown out on appeal.

This is part of a legal battle that’s been raging for six years. In January 2014, VirnetX, considered by many (including me) to be a “patent troll,”  filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas seeking to supplement its infringement contentions against Apple, the defendant in a patent infringement lawsuit. The tech giant is accused of violating four patents. In April 2018, a jury found that Apple infringed all four and ordered the company to pay more than $500 million in damages, which was later raised to $600 million with fees and interest. But the damages award was thrown out by the Federal Circuit, which ruled in November that Apple had only infringed two of the four patents.

By the way, a patent troll is an individual or an organization that purchases and holds patents for unscrupulous purposes such as stifling competition or launching patent infringement suits. In legal terms, a patent troll is a type of non-practicing entity: someone who holds a patent but is not involved in the design or manufacture of any product or process associated with that patent.