Apple Denied “Face Time” With Court In Patent Suit
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The first big loss Apple had in recent years was in its mega-battle with Samsung over smartphones. Now comes the next strike over Facetime. The popular video/phone communication app was deftly appropriated by Apple and incorporated in its devices. Company decision-makers likely thought their corporate size could easily fend off a challenge from a much smaller player after stealing the kid’s lunch money.
However, the problem with being the biggest kid on the block is that you also make a real salivating target for lawyers who know their stuff. And that’s exactly what happened to Apple when VirnetX unleased litigation salvos for patent infringements. The tab is tremendous and more than enough to keep extremely skilled attorneys on the chase – $502.6 million to be exact.
The federal District Court in Texas gave the win in the first round to VirnetX on a very powerful decision with big interest ramifications. That’s because the original award amount inflated to 2017 figures is now in the neighborhood of $1 billion for a total of four infringed patents. Granted, this legal decision can be appealed, but it takes a strong argument to go that next step. Simply saying I don’t like the decision is not enough in the federal courts, regardless of the dollar amount in judgment.
Apple has a huge cash war chest; it could decide to just pay and close the matter. But $1 billion is painful, and that will more than likely push the company to roll the dice for an appeal run. And with 3 out of 4 chance of losing given a conservative court’s perspective at the district court level, Apple’s odds are not good. But, like many corporate types, they won’t take the harder choice and instead will go legal. And then Apple will pay more. It’s almost like watching a soap opera play out.
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