In February 2016, a federal jury ordered that Apple pay $625 million to VirnetX Holding Corp after being found guilty of willfully infringing on technologies found in VirnetX’s patents related to virtual private networking protocols. Friday, the judge voided that ruling after determining that the case should be revisited, CNBC reports. VirnetX alleges that its patented technology is used in FaceTime and iMessage on the iPhone, iPad and Mac.
U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder in Tyler, Texas said Friday it was “unfair to Apple“ that two separate VirnetX lawsuits against the iPhone maker had been combined into a single trial. He argued jurors may have been confused by more than 50 references to the earlier case, which contained “incredibly similar” issues, and deferred improperly to the prior jury’s findings when it found Apple’s liable for willful infringement.
Expressing his disappointment with the decision, VirnetX CEO Kendall Larsen told the press that his company is reviewing “all our options and will follow the court’s direction as we start preparing for these retrials.”
Now both cases will be retried separately. The first trial is scheduled to begin on September 26. VirnetX’s share price plunged on the news.
VirnetX has been called a patent troll because it makes most of its money from licensing patents and going after companies that use its technology without permission.