Apple loses FaceTime Patent Lawsuit, fined £230m

Apple has been fined a total of £230 million ($368m) after losing a patent battle with VirnetX who accused the company of breaching its patents. VirnetX who initially asked for $708m in damages said that Apple infringed on four patents in FaceTime on its iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and Mac devices. The patents related to a domain-name service to set up virtual private networks through which a website owner can interact with customers in a secure way, or an employee can work remotely and get access to a company's network.

Douf Cawley, a lawyer representing VirnetX said,

For years Apple refused to pay fair value for the VirnetX patents. Apple says they don't infringe. But Apple developers testified that they didn't pay any attention to anyone's patents when developing their system.

While Apple lawyer Danny Williams told the jury that the company does not owe money to VirnetX,

[VirnetX] is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products.

VirnetX has also launched intellectual property cases against Microsoft, NEC and Cisco.

Source: International Business Times Image: Apple

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49 Comments

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Simple solution:

All existing current software related patents need to be cancelled, and all present/future patent
applications related purely to software (and other non-physical products) MUST be refused.

Considering the large awards given in these patent cases has anyone done a study to show the negative effects patent trolls have on the industry and the economy as a whole? It would make a nice change from the usual skewed piracy studies.

Dushmany said,
I don't actually have anything interesting to say, just wanted to put in a payback's a b*tch

Edit,

Actually, I do have something to ask which might be considered interesting...
What about messengers, like msn (WLM) yahoo and such that have video chat features, I'm a little unsure, is there a chance we could lose these in the aftermath of this ruling?

First of all Patent Office should be sued for allowing this kind of patents. Not a surprise that in a country where a soya bean is patented anything can also be patented.

FloatingFatMan said,
I'm SO glad we don't have to bother with all that nonsense in the UK. Software patents aren't recognized over here.

That's the way it should be everywhere.

FloatingFatMan said,
I'm SO glad we don't have to bother with all that nonsense in the UK. Software patents aren't recognized over here.

+1

Software patents need to go the way of the dodo.

Basically, when you start coding, you already have one foot in the jail...

GS:mac

Glassed Silver said,

+1

Software patents need to go the way of the dodo.

Basically, when you start coding, you already have one foot in the jail...

GS:mac


People have to be able to protect their intellectual property *somehow* or software will go the way of the dodo.

There is no progress without ambition.

Joshie said,

People have to be able to protect their intellectual property *somehow* or software will go the way of the dodo.

There is no progress without ambition.

The main problem is that the patent system needs a serious overhaul if it's going to carry on functioning for its intended purpose. For example, it should be overhauled in a way where you can patent your technical process of solving a problem, but you cannot actually patent the problem itself.

If someone else solves a problem using their own method, and this method turns out to be properly executed. Having another company sue and handicap the new method, just because they solved that particular problem first is what's halting innovation.

And don't get me started on design patents. The whole idea of pulling design into the patent realm is ridiculous, especially when you consider that all creativity is built on top of inspiration from others and things around you. Suing someone for a design will mean that you'll have to have every single derivative holder sue up the chain if you do not wish to have a double standard.

Joshie said,

People have to be able to protect their intellectual property *somehow* or software will go the way of the dodo.

There is no progress without ambition.

They have a way! It's called copyright! Patenting software just doesn't make any sense since I can sit coding on a complete different project and will arrive at the same solution with entirely different code. Did I steal it? No! Did I infringe on a copyright? No (unless I just copied their code rather than coming up with my own).

Just take the entire software patent situation and transfer it onto a completely different field, for example cooking! Now imagine that company "A" patents frying (any kind of) meat because they were the first doing so. This would mean that any cook or restaurant would have to pay them a fee each time a customer gets a fried piece of meat on their plate ... well, I guess you see where I am going with it?

idk. if apple is right in that they didnt pay attention to patents and ended up developing the same solution then can you really blame apple? I thought one of the requirements of filing a patent is that the thing is not "obvious". if someone comes across the same problem and ends up with the same solution, can you really defend it's creative and not obvious?
on the other hand, if it was patented, it means it's published, so it's hard to prove u didnt know about it. and i guess the patent system sort of mandates that u check first. so if anything, apple's been served using their own tactics.

Exactly, sounds like they should never have gotten the patent in the first place, these software patents are just terrible, I'm sure they are infringed upon on a daily basis simple because they are good solutions, not because people are copying each other.

tmaxxtigger said,
Exactly, sounds like they should never have gotten the patent in the first place, these software patents are just terrible, I'm sure they are infringed upon on a daily basis simple because they are good solutions, not because people are copying each other.

patents are an abomination.

A fair ruling but it doesn't mean anything. Apple can do this again and again, the fact is they make enough money that they can afford to be fined millions of pounds. I guess the way they see it is, don't infringe of patents and then their products miss out of certain features or just infringe on their patents and then pay the fine.

Lord Method Man said,
Should have made it an even $billion to take away the payment the Apple-stock-owning Judge handed them in the Samsung case.

or 3 $bil just to teach apple a lesson.

apple lawyer "[VirnetX] is not entitled to money for things they did not invent."

top notch hypocrisy from apple.

technikal said,
apple lawyer "[VirnetX] is not entitled to money for things they did not invent."

top notch hypocrisy from apple.

Exactly.

What's even more preposterous, is him going on to say :

"The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products."

So does that mean Apple should be allowed to steal other's technology claiming it's only a liiitle part of something big, and later claim they invented the entire overall technology?

Thieving *******.....

This is the same mother****ing company who sued for ****ing "rounded corners" on icons.

*spit*

javagreen said,

Exactly.

What's even more preposterous, is him going on to say :

"The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products."

So does that mean Apple should be allowed to steal other's technology claiming it's only a liiitle part of something big, and later claim they invented the entire overall technology?

Thieving *******.....

This is the same mother****ing company who sued for ****ing "rounded corners" on icons.

*spit*


It's like Apple and the people they employ have a complete lack of understanding of the word "irony"

It's astounding how well they are able to avoid looking in mirrors.

kenboldt said,

It's like Apple and the people they employ have a complete lack of understanding of the word "irony"
It's the lawyers that apple hires. They do it for them.

It's astounding how well they are able to avoid looking in mirrors.

Unfortunately, this doesnt mean much. This wont stop Apple from doing something similar in the future, and even so, nothing really happened. The application still goes on with normal usage and conditions. They just had to fork over some cash that they had laying around. Wow.

So you admit to using a technology and didn't have your lawyers check to make sure no one owned it? Well ignorance of the law is no excuse of the law. You still can be sued, you were sued and now you need to pay up.

Question, how did Apple's attorney's claim the plaintiff was not entitled to any money for something they didn't invent? Answer - The same way you aren't entitle to receive money for crap you didn't invent, yet you sue people anyway. Its just this time you ******* lost.

You started this crap, now you get a taste of your own medicine.

TechieXP said,
So you admit to using a technology and didn't have your lawyers check to make sure no one owned it? Well ignorance of the law is no excuse of the law. You still can be sued, you were sued and now you need to pay up.

Unfortunately, this is part of the problem with software patents - it is unimaginably complex to properly patent check software. There's too many, and no good way to search them.

Kirkburn said,

Unfortunately, this is part of the problem with software patents - it is unimaginably complex to properly patent check software. There's too many, and no good way to search them.

That is why patents need to be abolished or shared so all can benefit.

DKAngel said,
yay apple finaly loosing something

I love the response [VirnetX] is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. Yeh Apple has never claimed they are entitled to money for things they did not invent.

Gaffney said,

I love the response [VirnetX] is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. Yeh Apple has never claimed they are entitled to money for things they did not invent.

Yeah, the level of cognitive dissonance required for him to make that statement while representing Apple is simply astounding.