VirnetX refiles Apple patent complaint to ITC

Summary:Apple can no longer count how many suits it has on its chief executive's ten fingers. Another firm is refiling its patent suit against Cupertino due to a prior procedural error.

VirnetX is to refile its patent infringement case against Apple nearly a year after its initial bid to bar Apple products from sale in the U.S. failed.

The secure communications and collaboration firm, based in Nevada, said will complain again to the U.S. International Trade Commission, alleging Apple infringed a patent the firm claims to own.

U.S. Patent No. 8,051,181 establishes a secure connection between two computers over a network without the need for a user to enter encryption information, such as a password. 

The Nevada-based firm said Apple has "engaged in unfair trade practices" by importing and selling products that allegedly infringe the patent, and wants the ITC to bar iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macs from sale in the United States. 

In 2011, VirnetX filed an appeal with the ITC to review the original case. The ITC terminated the investigation into the firm's allegations that Apple engaged in unfair trade practices by using the patent. 

Last month, a judge said VirnetX may not own all the rights to the patent in question and therefore does not have the right to bring a case to the court. 

"We will continue to defend against any unauthorized use of our intellectual property by all means available to us under the U.S. legal system, including in the ITC," VirnetX chief executive Kendall Larsen said in a statement.

VirnetX entered the spotlight in 2010 when it sued Microsoft over patents. The Redmond, WA.-based software giant eventually settled for $200 million in a case that claimed Microsoft infringed a virtual private networking patent, but filed a separate suit a day later with Windows 7 firmly in its crosshairs.

On Monday, Google-owned Motorola Mobility brought yet another patent suit to the ITC against Apple seeking a similar iPhone, iPad, and Mac computer ban. Seven patents are under dispute, including technologies that allow voice-activated 'intelligent' assistant Siri to work, along with location reminders and email notifications. 

Topics: Patents, Government : US, iPad, iPhone, Security

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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