Apple wants another shot at ‘en banc’ hearing in its legal battle with VirnetX

Apple has asked the Federal Circuit for another shot at requesting an “en banc” rehearing in a $439 million case, after the VirnetX patent claims it was found to infringe were invalidated last week in what the tech giant called an "extraordinary collision" of proceedings in the court and the patent office, reports Law360.

In law, an en banc session (French for "in bench") is a session in which a case is heard before all the judges of a court (before the entire bench) rather than by a panel of judges selected from them. En banc review is often used for unusually complex cases or cases considered to be of greater importance.

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The district court judgement in question awarded VirnetX a total of $439.8 million, including damages for willful infringement and attorney fees. This is all part of a long, ongoing legal battle. 

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 motion alleged that Apple products, including products containing the redesigned VPN On Demand and Per App VPN features implemented in Apple’s iOS 7, infringe VirnetX’s patented inventions. 

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.