Apple loses $358m patent suit

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Apple loses $358m patent suit

Apple has been ordered to pay $US368 million ($A358.5 million) to patent holding company VirnetX after a Texas court found that the former infringed four of the latter's patents.

Reports are mixed as to whether the patent infringements centered on Apple's Facetime video calling service. Some also claim the patents were for establishing virtual private networks and domain names.

Facetime does use those features, but Apple argued in court that VirnetX hadn't established any evidence of actual damages as the video calling service had no fees or revenue. 

Apple intends to fight the case, and has filed an objection questioning if VirnetX has enough evidence to support its case and also asked for a re-examination of the four patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office.

VirnetX filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission in September this year, alleging that "Apple has engaged in unfair trade practices by the importation, sale for importation, and sale after importation of certain devices with secure communication capabilities that infringe one or more claims of VirnetX’s US patent no. 8,051,181."  

Apple's latest iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers are alleged by VirnetX to infringe patents.

VirnetX Holding Corporation is listed on the American Stock Exchange and was incorporated in 1992.

Its activities are described as "the business of commercialising a portfolio of patents" and it also "develops software and technology solutions for securing real-time communications over the Internet".

Apart from Apple, VirnetX is also suing Avaya, Cisco and Siemens for alleged patent infringement. The hearing in its case against the latter three will be held in March next year. 

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