Apple must shut down iMessage, FaceTime: lawsuit demand

Technology giant Apple, already hit with a $625 million patent-infringement award, will have to shut down iMessage and FaceTime if the company that won the award succeeds in an additional court action.

Apple in February was ordered to pay Nevada holding company VirnetX $625 million over infringement of four patents addressing secure communications. On Wednesday, VirnetX asked an East Texas federal district court to block Apple from operating its messaging and video-chat apps, and to add another $190 million to the award because Apple was a “poster child” for unreasonable litigation, according to Law 360.

VirnetX has been referred to as a “patent troll,” a label describing a company existing solely to win patent-infringement awards and settlements without producing products. However, VirnetX claims Apple’s patent infringement damaged business opportunities for VirnetX’s video-chat and messaging apps, according to Law 360’s report. The suite of apps, called “Gabriel,” appears to be available by subscription on the company’s website.

East Texas district courts are notoriously friendly toward patent trolls, with almost half of U.S. patent-infringement lawsuits filed in the district, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Apple told Fortune magazine in February it planned to appeal the $625 million verdict. The Cupertino firm in 2013 had complained to the Federal Trade Commission that it was the world’s biggest target for patent-infringement suits, having been dragged into court 92 times in the previous three years.


Photo: Apple CEO Tim Cook at Apple headquarters in Cupertino (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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  • warhammer45945

    keep up the fight Apple, don’t give that patent troll one thin dime

  • papakurt

    Apple thinks it can do whatever it wants because the company is so big and has megabucks in it’s war chest. Glad to see them getting slapped down and told to play fair.

  • East Texas? Oh daddy is going to get milk for his son.