A Texan court has ordered Apple to pay a hefty $368.32 million fine to patent and security firm VirnetX.
Bloomberg reports that U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis's court found Apple infringed on networking patents held by VirnetX. The patents in question, focused on virtual private network technology, have apparently been used in Apple's FaceTime video calling feature. Use of the technology on Apple's iPhone, iPad and Mac computers were all called into question.
The patents in question cover use of a domain name service to set up a VPN, which a website owner can then use to connect securely to customers, or as a means to grant acces to files securely for employees working from home.
Apple contended that the patents were invalid, and denied any infringement. However, the U.S. court found that VirnetX's case -- filed in 2010 -- was valid, and awarded $368.2 million in damages, rather than the original $708 million the patent-holding firm sought.
Apple's representative, lawyer Danny Williams, told the jury that "VirnetX is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products.” In closing statements, Virnet's lawyer Doug Cawley said:
"For years Apple refused to pay fair value for the VirnetX patents. Apple says they don't infringe. But Apple developers testified that they didn’t pay any attention to anyone’s patents when developing their system."
Following the verdict, VirnetX said it would seek a further order to block any future use of its patented technology.
This is not the first technology firm VirnetX has gone after. In its early days, the security firm patented a number of VPN-based technologies, and eventually won $200 million as a settlement from Microsoft. The company is currently suing a number of firms including Cisco, Avaya, and Siemens Enterprise.
Image credit: Brian Turner