In your FaceTime: Apple gets sued by VirnetX -- again

How do you follow a $368 million judgment in your favor? If you're VirnetX, you go back to the patent litigation well, and this time you target the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini.

FaceTime Apple
VirnetX, which has already won $368.2 million in damages, isn't quite done with Apple.

The patent holding and security software company, which earlier this week won an earlier suit against Apple in a Texas court, has now slapped the electronics giant with a new lawsuit. As in the prior complaint, VirnetX is accusing Apple of infringing four of its networking patents through the use of FaceTime.

Those patents, Nos. 6,502,135, 7,418,504, 7,921,211 and 7,490,151, cover advancements for secure communication over the Internet. That includes technology for creating a virtual private network between two computers, a protocol for secure communications using secure domain names, and a method to establish a secure communications link based on a domain name service request.

The products now accused of infringing these patents are the iPhone 5, iPad Mini, fourth-generation iPad, fifth-generation iPod Touch, and the latest Mac computers. The products weren't included in the previous suit because of their release dates.

VirnetX is well known for going after major tech companies for patent infringement. In its early days, the company aggressively patented technology that created virtual private networks over the Internet. It wasn't long before nearly every big tech company was doing the same. VirnetX eventually sued Microsoft and won a settlement for $200 million. Now it's suing Cisco, Avaya, and other big companies.

The U.S. International Trade Commission announced last month that its members voted to begin another investigation into Apple on behalf of VirnetX. The original complaint, like the new one, aimed to halt the importation of Apple products into the U.S.. The two companies are likely to reach a settlement or licensing deal instead.

We've reached out to Apple and VirnetX and will update when we hear back from the companies.

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About the author

Shara Tibken is a senior writer for CNET focused on Samsung and Apple. She previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and the Wall Street Journal. She's a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."



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