back to article Patent tank VirnetX fires 'secure domain name' design claim at Apple

Security patent wielder VirnetX has tacked a newly protected design onto a fresh lawsuit against Apple over secure communications technology. VirnetX said it has just been granted two new patents in the US, and has filed with the Texan courts to add one of them on to its list of claims against the iPhone maker. The new patent …


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  1. h3

    So if they don't have to pay Samsung for something that is a real piece of engineering by Presidential veto why cannot they do the same with this ?

    1. Roger Greenwood


      Because they are not in this game just for fun or to make the world a better place, they want the money.

      Icon to celebrate any big money win.

    2. Eradicate all BB entrants

      Simple .....

      ...... the money is staying in the USA.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > So if they don't have to pay Samsung for something that is a real piece of engineering by Presidential veto why cannot they do the same with this ?

      The ITC case had nothing to do with damages; per its charter, the ITC can only issue injunctions on imported items. The veto of the ITC decision specifically encourages Samsung to pursue their case through the federal court system. If the federal courts determine that the patent is valid and infringed, then Apple will pay a license for future use of the technology and damages for past infringement.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      While described as a pseudo-court, the ITC is part of the Executive branch and is not a true court per the Constitution. The laws that created the ITC allow the head of the Executive branch authority to veto its decisions. A real federal court within the Judicial branch cannot be overruled by Congress nor the President.

    5. Steve Todd Silver badge

      You've completely failed to understand what the veto did

      If the ITC ruling had gone through then no money would have changed hands between Apple and Samsung, Apple would have been baned from importing certain devices into the USA, which would have given Samsung a stronger negotiating position and perhapse allowed them to force an out-of-court settlement.

      There are still court cases underway over these patents. Apple may still lose, and may have to pay Samsung, but there will be no presidential veto over that. The same applies to this case. Because the Samsung patents are FRAND however the court will not require Apple to stop using them, and will decide how much any licence fee should be. VirnetX have the option of requiring Apple to remove any infringing parts (though as they want cash this is unlikely) or charging as much as they can get away with as their patents are not, to my knowledge, covered by FRAND.

      The ITC case was over patents that were FRAND, that is Samsung had promised the standards setting body certain things about them. These promises included that they would not be used against competitors to force licensing terms that were not Fair, Reasonable and Non Discriminatory. The only power the ITC have is to ban import, so it's pretty easy to argue that they should never handle arguments over this type of patent, leaving those to the courts. Obama's administration seem to agree with that view.

      1. Chris Evans

        FRAND? "You've completely failed to understand what the veto did"

        "Because the Samsung patents are FRAND"

        AIUI only patents that form part of an agreed standard are FRAND. I didn't think an agreed standard was involved in this case, if it is which is the standard?

  2. Tim Parker


    As usual the summary of invention (which actually has some interesting stuff in it) and the claims are worlds apart. How Claim 1 survived intact would astound me normally, had not the issuing office been the USPTO...

    What is claimed is:

    1. A method of connecting a first network device and a second network device, the method comprising: intercepting, from the first network device, a request to look up an internet protocol (IP) address of the second network device based on a domain name associated with the second network device; determining, in response to the request, whether the second network device is available for a secure communications service; and initiating 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.

    ..with some extra padding that is even more banal than normal, for example...

    8. The method of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first network device and the second network device is a mobile device.

    9. The method of claim 8, wherein the mobile device is a notebook computer.

    It's absolutely normal practice when applying for patents to claim the entire world, and then prepare to get knocked down until something slightly more specific is (hopefully) approved - but this seems like the claims haven't even been looked at... that first claim appears to be any hand-shaking secure link with some AV data on it, or did I miss something ?

    Dear God, it's like bloody Groundhog Day.... when are these morons going to be stopped ? My bet is never, possibly longer. Nnnngghhh (*breathe*)

    1. Syren Baran

      Re: FFS

      Hmm, so lets see.

      Mail client resolves mail.whereever, if the server advertises SSL capability the client does a secure connection. Now, if i send a mail with an audio or video attachement from a notebook i am infinging?

      Not really fond of Apple, but i do hope this case gets laughed out of court.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Erwin Hofmann

      Re: FFS

      ... point well made and ... NO ... you didn't miss anything, this claims are truly as moronic as they sound ... "chee" help us all ... "Nnnngghhh" ...

  3. ecofeco Silver badge

    I fail to see the validity of this claim

    What, exactly, are they talking about? The patent description, while wordy, is still very vague.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: I fail to see the validity of this claim

      That's a patent troll tactic. Ideally you get the vaguest wording possible approved then use it to attack as many people as possible. Actual technology companies are occasionally guilty of this too, but 'real' patents tend to be far more specific. More specific patents tend to hold up better but don't offer as many ways to attack.

      Allowing the vagaries is a failure on the part of the USPTO. At the end of the day their internal rules are responsible for all this bullshit.

  4. Ben 54

    More trolling!

    If there is even one legislator out there with half a brain, STOP THIS PATENT NONSENSE!!! This is getting out of hand. I personally dislike apple, but this patent troll companies who just apply for patents vague and generic enough to take companies to court should all be abolished. This patent for example is so vague that it describe a concept which has been in place for more than 20 years. Are they going to sue to army as well? Unfortunately the Patent Economy is forming with the blessing of the idiots approving this crap.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: More trolling!

      At this point, the best option is for those being targeted to challenge the validity of the patents in court. I hope Apple, Samsung, Motorola or anyone else would challenge questionable patents rather than assume they are valid.

      What would really help is a law making the loser pay all legal fees. Trolls bank on companies choosing to settle rather than defending themselves in court, because even a successful defense requires the defender to pay very large legal fees.

      1. Erwin Hofmann
        Thumb Up

        Re: "What would really help is a law making the loser pay all legal fees"

        ... how about a law whereby the USPTO has to pay the defenders legal fees, for granting an unjust, questionable patents in the first place ... and cut the salary of the USPTO officer by 10% for every dismissed patent that person was involved with ... that sure would help to create a more responsible environment in the USPTO ...

  5. dssf

    God/Gods/Lords of Kobol, please corporeally FACTORY RECALL

    God/Gods/Lords of Kobol, please corporeally RECYCLE

    The writers, submitters, defenders, and granters of that patent, and ban them from reincarnation!

    What assholes. The Article/Claim 1, if sent back into 1948, would have precluded Novell and Windows System Admin/Network Admin courses if those two, among dozens of other, companies did not agree to pay royalties.

    The fact that the Claims in their hokey, piece-of-shit patent are stating "mobile phone" is specious and all-grabbing. It should have NEVER withstood scrutiny, and the USPTO, once again, showed/shows that it is too care-free and pay-accepting in granting dubious, specious, unworthy patents.

    I, too, have my gripes with Apple, but, I hope they nuts-kick these shits so hard they need a time machine just to stop coughing from the deep, stilettoed kick Apple and the rest of the industry need to issue as a final issue.


  6. Valerion

    Have I missed something?

    If they get a NEW patent granted, then surely they can't sue anybody for infringing it in existing products, as those products would therefore constitute prior art??

    1. Peter 39

      Re: Have I missed something?

      Maybe. It depends upon when it was filed. If the products came after the filing but before the grant (often a long time) then they wouldn't be prior art.

      But - sheesh. There certainly is prior art. I was doing this "intercept" thingie for a VPN back in the late 90's.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If the USPTO cannot be trusted to do a decent job has anybody called for an investigation into whether its officers are taking illegal payments to be so gloriously incompetent? Personally I think the money corporations spend on lawyers defending against patent trolls would be better spent on modern day ninjas eliminating the latter. I was always a fan of kinetic solutions.

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