Patent holding firm VirnetX filed the opening salvo in their retrial seeking $532 million in damages for Apple’s alleged infringement of their VPN-related intellectual property. The firm is asking for almost 45% more than they won in an initial damages award, thrown out in 2015.
Bloomberg reports VirnetX lawyers immediate went on the offensive from the opening gavel on Monday, in an East-Texas Federal District Court trial that is expected to last a week.
“Apple hasn’t played fair. They have taken Virnetx’s intellectual property without permission,” said VirnetX lawyer Brad Caldwell.
VirnetX lawyers used the same argument in a 2012 trial that saw a jury find Apple had infringed a VPN patent owned by VirnetX, and order the Cupertino firm to pay $368.2 million in damages. That original ruling was thrown out by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit last September, saying the verdict was influenced by the instructions given to the jury during the trial. The current trial is a retrial over those issues, as well as some newer generations of Apple products.
In Apple’s opening comments, the iPhone maker fired back.
“Apple believes in fairness and protecting intellectual property,” said Apple’s lawyer, Greg Arovas of Kirkland & Ellis. “VirnetX keeps moving the boundary, asking for more and more and more.”
The trial will decide a dispute over Apple’s use of virtual private network (VPN) technology in its FaceTime video-calling feature on its Mac computers and iOS devices. The dispute is over whether Apple is using technology in FaceTime and its iMessage system that infringes on patents VirnetX owns.
VirnetX is asking for more in damages than it was originally awarded, as the Court of Appeals decision to throw out the original damages against Apple offered VirnetX the opportunity to include newer Apple mobile devices and computers in their bid for damages.
Following the initial ruling in 2013, Apple modified its FaceTime service to avoid further infringement. However, VirnetX argues Apple did not do enough, and is still violating its intellectual property.
VirnetX relies on patent licensing for its main source of revenue. In December, Microsoft paid the company $23 million to settle claims that its Skype video calling service infringed the smaller company’s patents.