back to article If at first, second, third... fourth time you don't succeed, you're Apple: Another appeal lost in $440m net patent war

Apple has, for the fourth time now, lost an appeal against a $440m patent-infringement damages award, payable to VirnetX – and pledged to appeal the decision. On Tuesday, a US appeals court denied Apple's request to overturn a 2016 verdict; just the latest in a long game of legal ping-pong that the tech giant appears to be …

  1. unpale

    This company is simply outrageous

    It's an outrage that this company spend so much time in court, contributing nothing to making the world better place – they couldn't make a half-decent product themselves if they tried.

    And VirnetX aren't much better.

    1. James Anderson

      Re: This company is simply outrageous

      Keep up the good fight Apple.

      Be very clear if they lose this smaller companies will be left with no choice but to feed the patent trolls.

      Could add as much as 10% to the price of anything with software inside.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: This company is simply outrageous

        Now that is what I call short term thinking. Guess what kind of companies will pick up the pieces, including the IPR, were the company to go under?

    2. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: This company is simply outrageous

      My football club owners have a similar problem with appeals. They've been in the High Court and lost so often that the supporters are thoroughly sick of them. Also as a result of the appeal of the previous decision we won't have anywhere to play next season. They just don't know when to quit and it's the fans plus the team who are suffering. Lovely. Oh and the team is Coventry

      https://www.theguardian.com/football/2018/oct/23/coventry-city-sisu-homeless-future-wasps-ricoh-stadium

      1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

        Re: This company is simply outrageous

        Just read that article. Absolute madness. Glad the greedy hedge fund got burned, shame the team were just collateral damage.

  2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

    Not sure how I feel about this

    I hate patent trolls. But then, I also hate Apple.

    What a conundrum.

    1. eldel

      Re: Not sure how I feel about this

      I believe the standard phrase is "a pox on both their houses"

    2. TVU Silver badge

      Re: Not sure how I feel about this

      "I hate patent trolls. But then, I also hate Apple.

      What a conundrum"

      There are no real good guys in this case, only bad and worse with the worse option being the patent trolls.

      There has a significant change since the landmark 2014 Alice Corp vs. CLS Bank US Supreme Court case and patent trolls are now generally less likely to succeed because of that precedent. That said, I'd still like to see patent trolling proactively outlawed across the plant starting with the USA.

  3. as2003

    > USPTO signaled that it was going to shake up its rules and make it much more likely that it will approve more software patents

    No no no no no no no. We're in this godawful mess because of the lax verification of software patents. This is only going to benefit lawyers and patent trolls, to the detriment of almost everybody else on the planet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It doesn't make much effective change as long as PTAB keeps its existing policy.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "his is only going to benefit lawyers and patent trolls"

      Sole purpose of the change.

  4. VikiAi Silver badge
    Facepalm

    What was the classic definition of insanity again?

    1. druck Silver badge

      ...To think you can win against someone who can afford more lawyers?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are VirnetX actually Trolls?

    Did VirnetX develop the patients or did they just buy them in a fire sale.

    If they actually spent time and money developing them then all well and good because I can guarantee that if apple had developed them they would have the patient.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are VirnetX actually Trolls?

      Per Wikipedia:

      VirnetX was founded by Dr. Robert Dunham Short III a former engineer and executive from Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) a company, which developed security technology for the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies.[3] All of the patents held by VirnetX were co-invented by Dr. Short, VirtnetX's Founder and Chief Technology Officer.[4]

      So this is a bona fide commercial products and services company, using patents to protect its own in house developed inventions to operate its own actual business.

      1. Not also known as SC
        Meh

        Re: Are VirnetX actually Trolls?

        The article however states "The company exists solely to sue other companies that are infringing patents that it bought." (I assume that the author is referring to VirnetX here).

        Who to trust, El Reg or Wikipedia?

        1. Bonzo_red

          Re: Are VirnetX actually Trolls?

          Maybe both are correct - the patents were invented by Short when he worked for SAIC and when this company had no interest in them anymore, he formed his own company which bought the patents off SAIC because he thought they had value.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Are VirnetX actually Trolls?

          Having written entries on WIkipedia (before being fed up by deletionists) I always check the source, in this case

          https://www.virnetx.com/

          And according to their own pages they sell a product called "Gabriel Collaboration Suite" which indeed relates to security.

          Also, they have a physical contact address, something trolls hardly advertise.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are VirnetX actually Trolls?

      >Did VirnetX develop the patients or did they just buy them in a fire sale.

      Did they purchase them from a tragic hospital inferno or is that just patently absurd ?

  6. fredfs

    Thuggery

    The "damages" claimed in this type of patent suit are always telling -- the damages are scaled exactly like the toll at a bridge commandeered by thugs or corrupt officials. The toll is not related to the cost of building or maintaining a bridge. The toll doesn't consider whether you need to cross one bridge or a hundred bridges to get to your destination. The only thing that matters is the value of the cargo you want to carry across that particular bridge.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    C'mon

    Everyone knows Apple did everything first, invented everything first. Prior art is just evidence of reverse chronology. There weren't rounded corners before Apple. Microsoft stole Apples Wimp interface. Apple invented the smartphone. The list goes on

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple has, for the fourth time now, lost an appeal

    given nobody's mentioned brexit yet, I would suggest Brits should look up to apple resiliance in the wake of adversity (what?!), re. potential number of potential refererendums, referenda on potential brexits.

    p.s. and yes, sorry, I forgot to add that Apple are EVIL, goes without sayin...

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: Apple has, for the fourth time now, lost an appeal

      ODFO

  9. Roger Greenwood

    Where's Groklaw when you need it?

    Just being nostalgic, made for great reading back in the day.

  10. tempemeaty

    Interesting...

    A fellow Apple user and myself, we thought that software was Apple Abandonware™️. It's weird to see them fighting over it like this.

    ヽ(。_°)ノ

  11. Steve B

    Get rid of Software Patents completely.

    Software is just another language like English. It would be a bit Naff if now we are going to be struggling outside the EU, we decided to up our income by taking every other country to court for infringing our language!

    Basically the same thing as books and films. What some one says can also be independently authored by someone else to get the same overall story just as in software some ideas are natural follow ons from normal programming practice. That appears to ave been cover nicely by copyright laws so they could be applied as well to software.

    IBM/Microsoft between them put the world of computing back 20 or 30 years, the US Patent System will probably kill all software innovation with their pathetic attempts to pander to the US legal system lobby..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Get rid of Software Patents completely.

      >It would be a bit Naff if now we are going to be struggling outside the EU, we decided to up our income by taking every other country to court for infringing our language!

      Hey, don't knock it! This could be used to make Americans speak proper English again.

      1. IsJustabloke Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Get rid of Software Patents completely.

        @AC

        "This could be used to make Americans speak proper English again"

        The dialect of English they speak is less "evolved" than our own version so in some respects it could be said they speak a purer form of the language than we ourselves do.

        While we're on the subject "-ize" versus "-ise" both are correct / acceptable and in actual fact we were using the "-ize" construct long before it became associated as being "American Spelling".

        language, great init?

      2. DCFusor Silver badge

        Re: Get rid of Software Patents completely.

        Nope, it means we'd mess up our version English even further to avoid infringement...workarounds are commonly used for all cases like that.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Get rid of Software Patents completely.

          If you were to become part of ol' blighty again there would be no infringement.

          Perhaps I could become rich selling caps with the slogan "Make America British Again".

  12. JaitcH
    Meh

    Older People May Recall ...

    that Jobs purloined the mouse concept and Apple copied both the name and logo from early competitors.

    Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs generated cash flow by manufacturing Blue Boxes - devices intended to bypass telephone billing systems.

  13. Pirate Dave
    Pirate

    You'd think...

    with the $200 million win from Microsoft, Virnetx could afford to drag this out for quite a while. It's not like they have to worry that their inventory is rotting on the shelves while this court battle continues.

    It does sort of bring back memories of SCO, doesn't it...

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