Apple to pay out US$368.2m to VirnetX in VPN FaceTime patent trial

7 Nov 2012

The Apple iPad 2

A federal jury in Texas has ruled that Apple’s FaceTime function infringed four patents belonging to a company called VirnetX. As a result Apple will have to pay US$368.2m in damages.

The decision comes two years after VirnetX won US$200m in a settlement from Microsoft for infringing the same patents.

FaceTime is the technology that allows people to make video calls between iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Mac devices.

VirnetX is also engaged in patent infringement cases against Cisco, Avaya and Siemens.

In September, VirnetX re-filed a complaint with the US International Trade Commission alleging that Apple Inc engaged in unfair trade practices by trading certain devices with secure communication capabilities that infringe one or more claims of VirnetX’s U.S. Patent No 8,051,181 (the ‘181 patent’). 

The technology VirnetX claims ownership of had its origins in secure communications technologies developed by SAIC Inc for the CIA.

The verdict in Texas could have far-reaching consequences for Apple.

It is understood VirnetX plans to seek an order to block further use of its inventions.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years