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Apple Ordered to Pay $440 Million to Patent Troll

Sometimes, it's all about timing.

And for Apple and VirnetX, time is also relative. That's because a federal judge has ordered Apple to pay VirnetX nearly $440 million in a patent case. Meanwhile, however, the patent office and/or appeals board says the patents are invalid.

Never mind Einstein's theory of special relativity, this case is complicated.

Some Math Required

VirnetX won a $302.4 million verdict against Apple last year over protocols used in FaceTime and other applications. Apple filed post-judgment motions, which a Texas court denied.

With another $96 million in fees and costs, plus royalties (which grew from $1.20 to $1.80 per device) that increased to $41.3 million, and that makes $439.7 million. See why you weren't cut out for math?

The more complicated part has to do with timing. According to reports, VirnetX lost its patents but still has appeal rights before those rulings can become final.

At the same time, Apple will appeal the trial court decisions. By then, the VirnetX appeals may be exhausted -- or not. So, yeah.

Patent Troll's Case

For now, VirnetX is "elated" with the judgment against Apple. Despite the uncertain appellate future, the company is confident it will collect.

It recovered $200 million from Microsoft not so long ago. And the company, which is in the buiness of patent litigation, has designs on other patent infringement cases.

However, it may not be as successful in the future since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a patent case last May. In a decision hailed as a major defeat to "patent trolls," the court ruled that patents suits can only filed in a company's home district.

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