What just happened? Apple is no stranger to lengthy legal disputes, but even by the company's standards, its decade-long patent infringement battle with VirnetX is starting to drag on. However, and end to one chapter of this saga finally at hand: Apple has been ordered to pay VirnetX a whopping $502.8 million in royalties for allegedly infringing upon VirnetX's technology patents through iOS' VPN on Demand feature.
As we said, this case -- or, more specifically, this legal battle -- goes back more than 10 years, to August 11, 2010. There's been quite a bit of back-and-forth between the two companies over the years, but an appeals court has finally ruled in VirnetX's favor, much to Apple's disappointment.
After roughly 90 minutes of deliberation, according to Bloomberg, the Texas-based court arrived at the $502.8 million figure, which is certainly great news for VirnetX, albeit still a lower sum than they'd hoped for. Initially, VirnetX was shooting for around $700 million in royalties, whereas Apple felt it should have to pay no more than $113 million.
For context, at this point, there's not really a question of Apple's guilt -- that verdict had already been reached. Today's court decision only relates to the amount that Apple has to pay.
"We thank the jury for their time and appreciate their consideration but are disappointed with the verdict and plan to appeal," an Apple spokesperson said...
Obviously, Apple is not pleased with this outcome, and understandably so: right or wrong, $500 million is certainly quite a bit more than the $100 million-and-change payout it was hoping to get away with.
"We thank the jury for their time and appreciate their consideration but are disappointed with the verdict and plan to appeal," an Apple spokesperson said to Bloomberg in a prepared statement. "This case has been going on for over a decade, with patents that are unrelated to the core operations of our products and have been found to be invalid by the patent office. Cases like this only serve to stifle innovation and harm consumers."
We'll see whether or not Apple's appeal will be enough to overturn today's jury decision.