Patent troll VirnetX adds latest iOS devices and Macs to Apple lawsuit

Hot on the heels of the $368 million payout in the FaceTime suit, patent holding firm VirnetX is trolling Apple again, this time with claims that both the iPhone 5 and iPad mini infringe upon four patents. Both devices, along with the latest iPod and Macs, were added to the lawsuit. Just like the Facetime case could result in a ban of the iPhone 4S, this latest wrinkle might put sales of Apple’s newest products in jeopardy ahead of the fast-approaching holiday season…

The four patents that VirnetX alleges Apple infringed upon cover secure Internet communications: U.S. Patent Nos. 6,502,135 , 7,418,504 , 7,921,211 and 7,490,151.

VirnetX wrote in a media release:

In its complaint, VirnetX seeks both damages and injunctive relief.

The accused products include the iPhone 5, iPod Touch 5th Generation, iPad 4th Generation, iPad mini, and the latest Macintosh computers.

Due to their release dates, these products were not included in the previous lawsuit that concluded with a Jury verdict on November 6, 2012.

Earlier this week, Apple was found liable of patent infringement in a Texas court and the federal jury awarded VirnetX a cool $368 million in damages.

Apple is expected to appeal.

Not surprisingly, the Zephyr Cove, Nevada-based VirnetX used the patent plaintiff-friendly Eastern District court in Tyler to file its complaint. Patent owners turn to Eastern Texas like corporations turn to Delaware – both reliably produce favorable court judgements.

VirnetX is fast becoming labelled a “patent troll” akin to Lodsys, a firm whose main product is lawsuits against deep-pocked defendants.

Brian Barrett of Gizmodo writes:

VirnetX is not a company that, strictly speaking, makes things. It is, instead, a company that collects patents the way joyless millionaires collect hermetically sealed comic books: for profit.

It’s unclear what the patent holding company has to gain by seeking both damages and “injunctive relief” in its case against Apple.

Usually, patent firms pester other companies for lucrative licensing arrangements. While the $368 million Apple would pay is just walking-around money for the goliath, the amount is nearly ten times that what VirnetX reportedly makes.

The only reason I can see for the patent company to seek a sales ban of Apple products is to squeeze more cash from the iPhone maker in exchange for not slowing holiday sales. Of course, Apple could solve the whole issue by cutting a check and buying its courtroom annoyance.

Should Apple just write a cheque to VirnetX?