Despite a federal jury's finding earlier this year that Apple's infringement of four VirnetX Inc. patents was willful, a Texas federal judge declined to double a $502.6 million award, according to an order unsealed Tuesday and reported by Law360.
Last week, in a sealed order, U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder III left in place the jury's award and denied Apple's request for judgment in its favor or a new trial. Jurors in April had decided Apple's FaceTime and VPN On Demand features infringed VirnetX network security patents.
In January 2014, VirnetX — considered by many 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 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 Macs.
In June, after winning a major patent infringement verdict against Apple, VirnetX asked an Eastern District of Texas judge to double the damages award to $1 billion, saying Apple’s behavior “shocks the conscience,” while Apple said the whole award must be thrown out. Apparently, that’s not going to happen.
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.