courtroom gavel

If you’re not familiar with the name VirnetX, you should be. The Internet security software and technology company (also known as a patent troll) has filed a patent infringement suit against every major tech company in the business, including Apple.

In fact, last fall Apple was ordered to pay VirnetX a staggering $368 million after a Texas jury found the iPad-maker guilty of infringing on its IP. And the battle is far from over, as the security firm just announced that it’s been awarded two new patents…

From VirnetX’s press release (via CNET):

“VirnetX™ Holding Corporation (NYSE MKT:VHC), an Internet security software and technology company, announced today that it has been granted two new patents, U.S. Patent No. 8,504,696 (“‘696 patent”), System and Method Employing an Agile Network Protocol for Secure Communications Using Secure Domain Names, and U.S. Patent No. 8,504,697 (“‘697 patent”), System and Method Employing an Agile Network Protocol for Secure Communications Using Secure Domain Names, by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.”

The company also announced today that it has filed papers with a US District Court in East Texas to add charges to its currently-pending suit against Apple involving its new ‘679 patent. Infringing products include the iPhone 5, 5th gen iPod touch, iPad 4, iPad mini and late-model Mac computers.


The claims will be added to VirnetX’s latest lawsuit against Apple, which was filed last fall in an East Texas district court, that involves virtual private networking (VPN) tech. Apple at one time planned on tweaking the VPN behavior in its devices in light of the lawsuit, but it has since backtracked.

Here’s VirnetX comment on the new patents:

“We are very pleased to add these new patents to our patent portfolio,” said Kendall Larsen, VirnetX CEO and President.  “Our patent portfolio consists of quality, essential patents and we believe these new patents will strengthen our ongoing licensing efforts to the mobile markets.”

To be honest, this whole thing kind of makes me cringe. I know Apple sues other companies over IP, but patent-holding firms like VirnetX make their living off of this stuff—stuff they didn’t invent themselves. There’s a reason why they only do business in East Texas—a known haven for patent trolls.

In addition to its Apple litigation, VirnetX currently has a number of other ongoing lawsuits with high profile tech companies including Microsoft, which it’s already won close to $100 million from, Microsoft’s Skype arm, and Cisco. The system is broken.

  • wmb

    Better check on that “stuff they didn’t invent themselves”, Cody. In fact, VirnetX personnel did invent most of their patented ideas.

  • Mike Viall

    Are you kidding me? VHC was spun out of SAIC and they did in fact invent all this stuff. As Bugs Bunny would say, “what a maroon.”

  • Mike Viall

    Your brain is broken.

  • Brian Kieffer

    When Apple goes after someone for IP, you guys cheer; if it’s someone else going after Apple, it’s a patent troll.

  • steelblued

    This article does not provide any kind of source to tell me why VirnetX is a patent troll. Just because it is in East Texas?

  • lomaintenance

    The patents VirnetX is adding to the suit were granted yesterday and the company’s been around for seven years. How exactly is this “stuff they didn’t invent themselves”, Mr. Fanboy?

  • Sandy Cook

    Apple has patented more things they didn’t invent than any ‘patent troll’ they’ve encountered

  • trojanhorse

    LOL!!! What a buffoon! “Stuff they didn’t invent themselves…” Cody, try to educate yourself a little better. You’re thinking specifically about the devices (iPhone, iPad, Macs, etc.) and not the methods some of Apple’s features actually communicate.

    VirnetX methods enable seamless, fully authenticated and encrypted real-time communications channels/links. Some of Apples key features (FaceTime, iMessage, VPN on Demand) infringe on VirnetX’s patent claims.

    Here’s some background on the inventor –
    Dr. Robert Short, CTO, is a member of the founding and inventing team of VirnetX’s patents. He came from the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and has a PhD from Purdue. SAIC is one of the foremost technology integrators and research institutions in the country. Dr. Short has been involved in many crisis situations where national security was under his direction. He operated teams in the military, homeland security and Department of Defense initiatives where he was relied upon by the country’s foremost people securing the country. When he was at SAIC, he was awarded the top scientist award out of 10,000 PhDs at SAIC.

    The key here is VirnetX has been trying to license the technology to Apple; however, they currently prefers to steal it free of charge. Unless, of course, Apple are forced to license. Because Apple does not want to pay and VirnetX is defending their intellectual property rights, morons like you want to call them a patent troll…regardless that they’ve invented the secure communications methods.