In the ongoing disagreement between the two firms regarding privacy-software technology, Apple Inc. (AAPL.O) convinced a U.S. judge’s ruling on Thursday to maintain a patent tribunal’s decision that might risk a $502 million judgment for patent licensing firm VirnetX Inc.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a judgment even by the United States Patent and Trademark Office that declared invalid the two patents that VirnetX claimed Apple had violated.
The judgment was unsatisfactory, according to VirnetX Chief Executive Kendall Larsen, and the firm is thinking about asking for a rehearing or appealing to the US Supreme Court.
Following that choice, VirnetX stock dropped more than 14 percent by Thursday afternoon. Immediately following the firm’s statement that it will issue a special cash dividend to its stockholders and expected a possible future payment from the Apple lawsuit, the shares had surged by 55 percent before the choice was taken public.
A call for feedback from an Apple spokesperson received no immediate response.
The 13-year judicial dispute between the two firms has involved numerous trials and appeals. Upon finding that Apple breached the virtual private network (VPN) patents the question in Thursday’s verdict, an East Texas jury fined VirnetX $502 million in 2020.
Apple has filed a separate appeal of the decision on the company’s behalf, although the Federal Circuit has not yet decided on the matter. Both parties suggested that maintaining the directive to revoke the patents would probably also invalidate the judge’s ruling when the court heard merged statements in the two cases in September.
“If the court upholds the (USPTO’s) decision, we have a big problem,” VirnetX attorney Jeff Lamken of MoloLamken said at the September hearing. “I don’t think we have an enforceable judgment.”
On Thursday, the Federal Circuit upheld findings made by the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board that the patents were ineligible because of prior works that had comparable described inventions.
In a different case, VirnetX succeeded against Apple in 2016 with a $302 million decision that was eventually enhanced to $440 million in an East Texas court. The incident involved claims that the technology giant had integrated its internet-security technology into functions like FaceTime video conversations.
Earlier, The Communications Workers of America (CWA) accused Apple of engaging in unfair labor practices (ULP) when it fired individuals for forming a union.
On Tuesday, it reported two examples of ULP to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Two Apple retail employees in Houston and Kansas City who expressed their right to assemble and then were dismissed as a result submitted a complaint on their behalf.