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Apple faces $368m bill after legal loss against VirnetX over FaceTime tech

07 Nov 2012
Two iPad2s displaying users talking with FaceTime

Apple has been ordered to pay $368m by a US jury in a case brought by US firm VirnetX relating to patented technology used in the tech giant's FaceTime system.

According to Bloomberg the case covered the Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Mac devices that use the video-calling system.

Apple denied claims it had infringed VirnetX's patents but a jury disagreed an awarded the firm $368m, a sizeable amount but under the $708m originally asked for by VirnetX.

"For years Apple refused to pay fair value for the VirnetX patents," Bloomberg reported Doug Cawley, a lawyer for VirnetX, as saying in court.

"Apple says they don't infringe. But Apple developers testified that they didn't pay any attention to anyone's patents when developing their system."

Apple's lawyers countered, claiming VirnetX's patent were not unique.

"VirnetX is not entitled to money for things they did not invent. The VirnetX technology, if used, is a small part of very large, complex products," said Danny Williams.

However, the jury disagreed and awarded the firm damages of almost $400m, hitting Apple with another legal defeat.

Apple declined to comment on the outcome when contacted by V3 while VirnetX had not responded at the time of publication.

The case underlines the huge extent of the patent wars in the technology industry at present, with VirnetX an unknown entity to many, yet it also cases pending against Cisco and Avaya while it won a $200m deal from Microsoft in a case against the firm in 2010.

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Dan Worth

Dan Worth is the news editor for V3 having first joined the site as a reporter in November 2009. He specialises in a raft of areas including fixed and mobile telecoms, data protection, social media and government IT. Before joining V3 Dan covered communications technology, data handling and resilience in the emergency services sector on the BAPCO Journal

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