VirnetX is a patent holding company that has adding a patent that they were recently granted to their lawsuit against Apple Inc. (AAPL) in a Texas federal court.
VirnetX claims that Apple is infringing on their patent that is related to secure communications using secure domain names. The company added that they have been granted two new patents in the area by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to PC World.
The new patent (#8,504,697) has the following Abstract:
“A system and method connect a first network device and a second network device by initiating a secure communication link. The system includes one or more servers configured to: receive, from the first network device, a request to look up a network address of the second network device based on an identifier associated with the second network device; determine, in response to the request, whether the second network device is available for a secure communications service; and initiate a secure communication link between the first network device and the second network device based on a determination that the second network device is available for the secure communications service; wherein the secure communications service uses the secure communication link to communicate at least one of video data and audio data between the first network device and the second network device.”
The original lawsuit was filed in November 2012. VirnetX claimed that the Apple iPhone 5, the iPod Touch 5th Generation, iPad 4th Generation, iPad Mini, and Mac computers using Mountain Lion infringed four of their patents. Apple said that they are going to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit for a case that awarded $368 million to VirnetX. A jury trial in Texas court ordered Apple to pay VirnetX that amount related to the four patents, besides pre-judgment interest, post-judgment interest, and post-verdict damages.
VirnetX filed similar patent infringement lawsuits against Cisco Systems and other tech companies in August 2012. Some tech companies settled with VirnetX out of court, but Cisco and Apple decided to take the case to trial. The court allowed Cisco and Apple to have separate trials. Based in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, VirnetX describes themselves as an Internet security software and technology company. But in my opinion, I describe them as just another typical “patent troll” that is exploiting the weaknesses in the patent system and is hindering innovation.