VirnetX Inc v. Apple & Patent Reform

The recent lawsuit that VirnetX has brought against Apple in regards to Apple's infringement of VirnetX's patents through the use of Apple's modified VPN On Demand, FaceTime and iMessage technologies. However, this is not the first suit VirnetX has brought against Apple. In 2012, VirnetX won a $384M suit against Apple in regards to Apple's FaceTime and VPN On Demand service. This award was vacated however, after the case was appealed. In doing so, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit sent the case for retrial on damages at the district court level.

Though the current VirnetX v. Apple lawsuit has awarded VirnetX $625M, Apple has filed to declare papers to U.S. District judge Robert Schroeder for mistrial. Apple claims that VirnetX's attorneys have "misled" the jury during closing arguments. Schroeder's decision has yet to be revealed. The patents contested in this case include: US 7418504: Agile network protocol for secure communications using secure domain names, US 7490151: Establishment of a secure communication link based on a domain name service (DNS) request, and US 6502135: Agile network protocol for secure communications with assured system availability.

As discussed in my previous post, patent trolls have larger deterrent effects on innovation when they target small companies like start ups. Though there is often a call for urgent patent reform to address trolls, patent system reform has had a limited impact on regulating patent trolls. The most recent sweeping patent reform passed is the Leahy Smith America Invents Act (or the AIA for short). The AIA has introduced various provisions to deter patent trolls. For example, the AIA requires the filing of multiple suits and fulfilling multiple fees when suing multiple companies. Additionally, the AIA has created post-grant proceedings in which defendants have an advantage over patent trolls. However, the AIA was enacted in 2012, yet patent trolls have not been altogether deterred. I hope to learn about other policy proposals that may deter patent trolls through the course of this class.

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  1. Hey Umeet!

    First, I really like how you included relevant tags at the bottom of your post; you're probably the first person I can remember to do this. Anyway, thanks for the super detailed post about the patents, and putting it in terms of a Schrodinger problem. I wasn't aware that the AIA had set up regulations already against patent trolls, that's really cool, but I really wonder how significant of an effect they will have?

    Great read overall!