back to article Apple tries to have VirnetX VPN patent ruling overturned again, US Supremes say no... again

The United States Supreme Court has kicked out Apple's attempt to overturn a judgement in one of the cases in its 10-year patent fight with VirnetX. The Supremes rejected Apple's petition for a judicial review in a bid to overrule the 2016 decision of a lower court, which awarded VirnetX $302m, which later rose to $439.8m in …

  1. Chris G Silver badge

    Added value

    The fact that Apple use the technology at all implies that it is necessary and therefore adds value to their product, and yet such a large and cash rich company as Apple fights tooth and nail to avoid paying for it.

    I'll stick to my cheap but excellent Chinese made waterproof, dustproof and drop proof phone that has a bigger battery, more ram, more memory and is less likely to be stolen than a Walled Garden™ item.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Added value

      Is it the £100 Quest Cubot? I got one of those a couple of months ago, and it's far more impressive than I expected (I wanted a waterproof phone that worked, the rest was a nice bonus)

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        Re: Added value

        It's the Ulefone Armor 2 was a bit less than €200, three years old and still an excellent phone. The cubots have good reviews though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Added value

      Agreed.

      *message autocorrected by worker sanctioned by Chinese government*

    3. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Added value

      Apple held the legal paperwork wrong.

  2. wolfetone Silver badge

    Just pay the bloody bill Apple, it's not like you're strapped for cash.

    1. Anonymous Coward
    2. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Just pay the bloody bill Apple...

      But then their Friday afternoon board room money fights would have much less impact.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why though? When the system provides an incentive to instead spend the interest on the money you would have paid on lawyers, to drag it out for another 10 years?

  3. ma1010
    Mushroom

    Hard to feel sorry for Apple

    These are the guys who sued Samsung for daring to have "rounded corners" on their phone. "Thieves! You stole our IP!! You owe us millions for IP theft!" they cried.

    But now that Apple has gotten called out for stealing networking protocols -- an IP a bit more impressive than rounded corners -- it's just all those mean judges and juries being unfair to poor, little, abused Apple, so they throw their toys out of the pram.

    Stop whinging, you damned sods! Nobody feels sorry for you. Just pay the bill (out of petty cash) and move on.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      Re: Hard to feel sorry for Apple

      I regret I have but one upvote.

  4. itzumee
    WTF?

    What??!!

    >>It stopped FaceTime working as a peer-to-peer product and instead calls went via a relay run by Akamai in order to avoid the relevant patents

    So FaceTime functionality has been hobbled just because one of the richest tech companies in the world are unwilling to license the technology for the cost of a small percentage of their profit and capital?

    With Apple the customer comes a distant second.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What??!!

      Because their patent basically covers ANY point to point videoconferencing connection, as if that wasn't something completely obvious to do.

      1. NoneSuch Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: What??!!

        And the Supreme Court and a half dozen other legal entities upheld that patent.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What??!!

          They did (though it was a jury who made the judgment on the validity of the patents) and that's what wrong with the US patent system. People complain about Apple's overly broad design patents for "rounded corners" (which was for the icons, not the phones, not that that makes it any better) but the same thing exists for regular patents like the ones at issue here.

          The concept of "obvious to those skilled in the art" escapes both patent examiners and juries, whether they are considering video calling going directly from phone A to phone B, or rounding the corner of icons that had typically been presented as square in the past.

      2. whitepines Silver badge

        Re: What??!!

        Because their patent basically covers ANY point to point videoconferencing connection, as if that wasn't something completely obvious to do.

        In the world of unfiltered IPv6, it's quite obvious and easy. However, I can attest from personal experience that doing so from NATted endpoints (i.e. any phone on IPv4, most computers, etc.) is far from trivial -- if I recall, we ended up using some kind of corporate reflector server (expensive, since all data flows through it, leading to high connectivity costs) because that was the only way to make it work reliably. And even then it wasn't great, didn't help productivity any, and to this day we primarily use Email, phone, and chat for communications as the proven best tools for the job.

        I haven't looked at the patent in question, but 10 years would put it well before IPv6 was deployed in any meaningful way. Setting up a circuit between two NATted devices without a reflector is indeed quite difficult and non-obvious.

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: What??!!

          I will have to read the patent, because if it's just NAT circumvention, that isn't original enough. The IETF was working on that quite a while ago and has continued past that RFC several times. Nor would pier-to-pier video communication be a valid patent as that's been done for a while as well. If it's been upheld this many times, it must be about something more specific than that.

          1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

            Re: What??!!

            The patents are not "just NAT circumvention". They're mostly about a TOR-like random-routing-with-encrypted-source-and-destination anonymization network. The novelty of the patents could be questioned based on the resemblance to TOR and similar approaches; but these patents are not primarily about videoconferencing or circumventing NAT.

            According to an earlier Reg story, the patents were overturned at one point, following a long campaign by Apple, but may have been reinstated. (I don't care enough to look into the question.)

      3. big_D Silver badge

        Re: What??!!

        That is why I am glad I live in Europe, which decided software isn't patentable. You can copyright it, but not patent it.

        If you live in a country that allows software patents, use the software patents yourself to stop competitors, you should also abide by them if you are caught using other people's works.

      4. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: What??!!

        Because their patent basically covers ANY point to point videoconferencing connection

        Does it? Or rather, do they, since Apple is accused of infringing (at least) two VirnetX patents (US 7,418,504 and 7,921,211)? Can you cite the relevant text in either of the patents? I skimmed them, and I don't recall any primary claim that would "cover[] any point to point videoconferencing connection".

  5. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    A Strange Admission to Make ..... for Does it Not Reek of a Ponzi Zombie on the Take ‽ ‽ ‽

    Larsen stressed that his firm is not just a patent troll farm or a beanfeast for IP lawyers.

    If that be an accurate and true record of something Larsen said and stressed, is the firm surely both of things, ..... a patent troll farm and a beanfeast for IP lawyers?

    1. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
      Pirate

      Re: A Strange Admission to Make ..... for Does it Not Reek of a Ponzi Zombie on the Take ‽ ‽ ‽

      ...is the firm surely both ... things, ..... a patent troll farm and a beanfeast for IP lawyers?

      Well spotted! My first thought when I read that was what were they in addition to those things? Schemers and scammers? I wonder if they would consider changing their corporate name to "Dewey, Cheatem & Howe"... or perhaps that is already claimed by Apple's patent team.

    2. MrDamage

      Re: A Strange Admission to Make ..... for Does it Not Reek of a Ponzi Zombie on the Take ‽ ‽ ‽

      Given that the guys who sit on the board actually created the patents, instead of buying them, I don't think they're patent trolls.

    3. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: A Strange Admission to Make ..... for Does it Not Reek of a Ponzi Zombie on the Take ‽ ‽ ‽

      No, this is "just" in the sense of "simply", not in the sense of "not only". It's well-established usage.

  6. chivo243 Silver badge
    WTF?

    Again, Apple's Legal Beagles

    Thinking Different, way different than the bean counters who look at the internal legal billings vs the actual fee asked for the license?? See icon----------------------------^

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: Again, Apple's Legal Beagles

      The company founded by "I can't ever be wrong" Jobs?

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