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

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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  • Per an Ars comment (Score:3, Informative)

    by arekin ( 2605525 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @04:36PM (#41911507)

    "Design patents are extremely narrow - you have to do your level best to copy them exactly in order to be found in infringement. Plus, they specifically cannot cover functionality - that has to be covered by a utility patent, if it's going to be protected. This design patent only protects a "portable display device" (that's the wording in the Patent itself), and only one with those specific design elements that are shown in the Patent Figures."

    With this being the case I would imagine that you shouldn't see a lot of battles about this design patent unless someone is deliberately making counterfeit iPads (and by shouldn't I mean "but probably will").

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @04:40PM (#41911569)

    Don't patents already expire after ~18 years now, or was it extended?

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

    by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:05PM (#41911807) Homepage Journal


    Patent abuser then.

    Let the trolls attack the abusers.

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:09PM (#41911851)

    Did you notice though, that the only part of the drawing that wasn't dotted lines was the shape? The speaker, the button, the I/O ports, even the depth were drawn in dotted lines, meaning those features weren't part of what was being patented. The only thing patented by the new patent was the basic shape of the top surface of the device. Once you consider that screen aspect ratio is going to dictate device ratio, and the fact that no one wants a 90 degree corner jabbing them in the thigh, you're pretty well guaranteed to be infringing if you make a tablet in that size range.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:15PM (#41911905) Homepage

    They are really more a kind of trademark registration. They deal only with appearance and never with utility.

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

    by tricorn ( 199664 ) <> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @05:41PM (#41912189) Journal

    That's a design patent, which really has little to do with "real" patents. It's closer to a trademark than a normal patent.

  • Re:So f*cked up (Score:4, Informative)

    by greg1104 ( 461138 ) <> on Wednesday November 07, 2012 @10:53PM (#41915135) Homepage

    Patent troll [] is only applicable to companies who lobby patent suits but don't make things; usage stretching behind that is sloppy terminology. The reason for that distinction is that patent troll companies are normally a non-practising entity (NPE), which lets them sue without fear of a counter-suit. That's what makes them so troublesome. When Apple and Samsung battle, ultimately both have products covered by patents held by the other. While Apple may not like licensing their patents, it's possible for them to be forced into cross-licensing with another company that builds real products, or both companies can be deadlocked and unable to sell. That possibility isn't there on a true patent troll company. They only sue for infringement and never need to license to cover their own products, because they don't have any.

When you are working hard, get up and retch every so often.