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Apple Loses Patent Case For FaceTime Tech, Owes $368 Million 139

Posted by Soulskill
from the we-invented-the-transmission-of-data dept.
beeudoublez writes "Apple was ordered to pay $368 million today to a software company named VirnetX over patents related to Apple's FaceTime technology. Apple engineers testified they didn't pay attention to any patents when building FaceTime. 'The jury, which had sat through the five-day trial, ruled that Apple infringed two patents: one for a method of creating a virtual private network (VPN) between computers, and another for solving DNS security issues. ... It's not the first time VirnetX has won a payout from a major tech firm: the company bagged $105.7m from Microsoft two years ago, and it may not be the last either. VirnetX has a separate case against Apple pending with the International Trade Commission and it has court cases against Cisco, Avaya and Siemens scheduled for trial next year.'" It's not all bad news for Apple today, though — according to Ars, they've won a new patent for a rounded rectangle (D670,286).
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Apple Loses Patent Case For FaceTime Tech, Owes $368 Million

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  • So f*cked up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:19PM (#41911323)

    The Patent Office should be dismantled (along with the TSA)

  • by mrbluze (1034940) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:21PM (#41911345) Journal
    is like throwing stones in a glass house. It's too early to say whether Apple is heading for a wall, as many predict, but relying on patents to protect their markets instead of functionality, interoperability and build quality (which have been Apple's strengths recently) is a flawed approach.
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:22PM (#41911351) Journal

    Yes, it's good to see a patent pest get what's coming to 'em, but consider... the plaintiff was nothing more than a patent troll.

    Personally, *ALL* software patents should die.

    Good luck getting anyone in power to agree to that, though. :(

  • Re:So f*cked up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pecosdave (536896) * on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:23PM (#41911363) Homepage Journal

    As much as I dislike Apple - for being patent trolls and bullies - it makes me sick to my stomach this happened to them. I mean I enjoy the suffering and all, it's just a really bad thing for the tech world in general. The patent trolling, not Apple suffering.

  • Re:So f*cked up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:24PM (#41911379)

    I don't think the patent office should be dismantled. But there needs to be some reform.

    All we see here on Slashdot and the rest of the media are large corporations and law firms abusing the system. We don't see any stories about the lone inventor working in his garage, patenting his invention, starting a company, and creating lots of jobs while getting rich. Dean Kamen comes to mind as an example of the patent system and the American Inventor dream working - as far as I can tell.

    So, please let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

  • by pecosdave (536896) * on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:25PM (#41911389) Homepage Journal

    I took this picture while I was in Manhattan this summer [google.com]. I took the picture due to that saying, there was a part of me laughing hysterically at the glass houses thing.

  • Re:So f*cked up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by YodasEvilTwin (2014446) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:34PM (#41911465) Homepage
    Nobody at the patent office appears to have any expertise with a functional system for promoting invention and avoiding all the piles of crap that are stifling innovation, clogging the justice system, etc. so I think it's perfectly reasonable that the patent office been dismantled.

    All patents older than 20 years should be eliminated along with the office, and a new agency put in place with sane rules to review the rest (invalidating many of them) and new ones going forward.
  • Re:So f*cked up (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:35PM (#41911483)

    Apple suffering over this, means *we all* suffer. To Apple, this is just raising the bar to market entry. $368 millions is peanuts to them. Effectively, this just means a steep artificial fee at the troll gate, which effectively supports the dinosaurs just fine. They don't care that they're sucking the life-blood of the economy. So if reform should start somewhere, it should start with the law and financials.

  • Re:So f*cked up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pecosdave (536896) * on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:39PM (#41911547) Homepage Journal

    In this particular case Apple suffering may help us all.

    Remember the famous patent troll of recent past Amazon? Now Amazon is actually starting to suggest patents are going overboard and trolls need to be shut down. If Apple gets on the losing end of enough of these battles they may actually join hands with Amazon and *gasp* Samsung when they've had enough to lobby to fix the problem.

    Until then troll them and the other patent troll companies until they have a change of heart.

  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @03:53PM (#41911685) Journal

    Do some real business reforms and make everyone happy.

    Fat chance of that happening.

    At risk of sounding trollish, and no matter what your personal ideology on the matters, Obama got re-elected by pushing for as many niche issues as he possibly could - gay marriage, abortion, unions, you-name-it.

    He's got enough to do towards keeping those constituencies happy (even though he's lame-duck, his party isn't), and isn't going to have much time towards doing anything beyond that and the day-to-day stuff.

  • Re:So f*cked up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by interval1066 (668936) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @04:21PM (#41911983) Homepage Journal
    That Apple completely ignored absolutely legitimate tech patents but "invented" a rectangle with rounded corners makes you sad for Apple? I think I'm sick to my stomach...
  • Re:So f*cked up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:28PM (#41912729)
    Bullshit. Apple uses their patents to prevent competition by refusing to license them even though they are for ridiculous things like rectangles and such. If you're preventing innovation by using patents for your own commercial gain, you're a patten troll. There are many ways to do this, apple is very good at their brand. VirnetX is very good at theirs. The fact that 2 patent trolls are battling it out doesn't make one the good guy. The sad state of affairs is that our system is so broken its turning companies that really don't want to be a part of this nonsense into trolls themselves. It's getting to be the only way to do business anymore.
  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @06:03PM (#41913101) Homepage

    Obama got re-elected by pushing for as many niche issues as he possibly could - gay marriage, abortion, unions, you-name-it.

    How are any of those niche issues? Anyone who works has an interest in unions. All women and most Christians have an interest in abortion. 5% of the population is gay and again a large number of Christians seem to care about it.

  • Re:So f*cked up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @07:17PM (#41913867)

    Incorrect. A patent owner is under no obligation to license. In fact, the whole point of the patent is to give a limited term monopoly. The revenue source of a patent troll is through legal actions based on forced licensing or settlements of patents it has acquired. This is not the same as pure IP companies that develop technologies for others to license but do not produce any products or services themselves, such as ARM and MIPS.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

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