Patent trollin’: court upholds $440 million VirnetX judgment against Apple

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a judgment worth $440 million that was won by intellectual property licensing firm VirnetX (considered by many, including me, to be a patent troll), against Apple in a patent infringement case, reports Reuters.

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The appeals court denied Apple’s appeal of a 2016 jury verdict originally valued at $302 million that grew to $440 million with interest, enhanced damages, and other costs. The same patent claims have been ruled invalid by an administrative court, but VirnetX is in the process of appealing those determinations.

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.

In January 2014 VirnetX Holding Company, an Internet security software and technology company (and, by most considerations, 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, continue to infringe VirnetX’s patented inventions.