Apple loses Facetime patent lawsuit

Apple Loses Patent Law SuitA US court has ruled today that Apple should have to pay damages amounting to $368.2M (£231M) to a Connecticut based technology company because Apples Facetime tool infringes upon the company’s patents.

The company in question, VirnetX has originally requested double the amount awarded to them but luckily for Apple, such a pay-out will only make a small dent in their finely stocked bank accounts.

However, this ruling could have more serious consequences for Apple as VirnetX could potentially carry out a threat to block the further use of its patents in Apple products. Apple has said that it had no comment to make on the case but the company still has the right to appeal the judgement if they so wish.

The case came from the fact that VirnetX alleged that Apple’s desktop; laptop, tablet and smart phone products had infringed four of its patents, which were registered between the 2002 and 2011. All of these products run Facetime and Apple’s IM client; iMessage and they say that Apple would have needed to pay a license fee to legally make use of their technology.

One of the included patents involves a method of establishing a secure communication link between many different types of computers using a protocol that is usually referred to as TARP (Tunnelled Agile Routing Protocol).

In the past, VirnetX has secured a $200M settlement from Microsoft over claims similar to that made against Apple and has also made further allegations against companies such as Cisco and Siemens.

“Apple says they don’t infringe, but Apple developers testified that they didn’t pay any attention to anyone’s patents when developing their system,” a lawyer for VirnetX was quoted as saying by the Bloomberg news agency.

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