VirnetX wants Apple to stop offering FaceTime and iMessage to customers

VirnetX has formally asked a Texas court this week to order Apple to stop providing its FaceTime and iMessage features to customers, following the patent troll’s early court victory regarding patent infringement.

Law360 reports that VirnetX argued that although an injunction blocking Apple’s popular video chatting and messaging features, along with a virtual private network on demand feature, may seem like a harsh remedy, it’s necessary because of the irreparable harm Apple’s infringement caused the company. VirnetX also asked the court to increase the jury’s damages award by at least $190 million, arguing that Apple has been the “poster child” for unreasonable litigation tactics.

In January 2014, VirnetX 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.

In February, an Eastern District of Texas jury has decided Apple must pay $626 million for infringing four patents held by VirnetX, a Nevada-based patent licensing company. The jury ruled against Apple on all counts, saying the infringement was willful. 

The Cupertino, California-based company asked the judge to declare a mistrial after lawyers for VirnetX made what Apple called "arguments outside the evidence, blatantly misrepresenting the testimony of Apple witnesses.” In January 2014, VirnetX 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 motion alleged that Apple products, including products containing the redesigned VPN On Demand and Per App VPN features implemented in Apple’s iOS 7, continue to infringe VirnetX's patented inventions. Some of the currently accused products in this lawsuit include the iPhone 5, iPod touch (fifth generation), iPad (fourth generation), iPad mini, and certain Mac computers.

However, in September 2014, a federal appeals court tossed out a $368 million jury award for patent infringement that VirnetX Holding won against Apple in 2012. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, a specialized Washington-based court that handles patent appeals, ruled the verdict was "tainted" by erroneous jury instructions in the case. This sent the case back to a trial court.

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.