US Supreme Court says no to Apple’s $440 Million patent appeal

The United States Supreme Court has denied Apple’s request to review a decision from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit which found it liable for $439.8 million in damages, fees, and interest.

Dating back to 2010, case 2018-1197 concerned the commercial relationship between Apple and Internet security software and technology company VirnetX. VirnetX originally claimed Apple violated four patents for secure networks and secure communications links in its FaceTime and VPN on Demand features, and the judges agree with it.

“We are extremely pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Apple’s writ of certiorari,” said Kendall Larsen, VirnetX CEO. “It has taken us 10 long years, 4 successful jury trials, 2 successful Appellate Court rulings and a favourable Supreme Court decision to get here.

“We believe in the fairness of the American justice system and have respectfully played by its rules no matter how arduous. We trust Apple will honour the decisions rendered by our courts and their esteemed judges and honour an agreement to abide by the court’s decision.”

Apple will know have 20 days to make the payment to VirnetX thanks to an agreement signed between the two parties in 2017, though it appears VirnetX investors are certainly pleased with the outcome. Share price jumped 12% for the Texas-based firm in the hours following the decision.

The original case was brought to the Eastern District of Texas courtrooms in 2010, though it has taken a decade for the final conclusion. After that ruling went in favour of VirnetX, Apple successfully petitioned the US Patent and Trademark Office, with a tribunal cancelling key elements of the patents in question. The Court of Appeals dismissed the findings from this tribunal, which led to the writ of certiorari to the Supreme Court.

In the writ, Apple argued the ruling from the Court of Appeals should be reviewed as the US Patent and Trademark Office decision effectively meant its FaceTime feature was not in violation of VirnetX patents. The Supreme Court has now refused Apple’s demands for a review.

What is worth noting is that this might not be an end to the drama. A Texas judge must now decide on the value of the damages, this could be done through a trial or without one. VirnetX maintains the $440 million figure is still valid as Apple sold more than 400 million devices which infringed on the patent, though Apple contests this. The ruling from the Texas judge might lead to another scrap between the pair.