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Apple ordered to pay $502M to VirnetX in lengthy patent fight

The latest judgment in a years-long legal battle finds that the iPhone maker infringed patents related to secure communications.

Apple's campus in Cupertino, California.

Another judgment has come down in Apple's years-long legal battle with VirnetX.

James Martin/CNET

Apple on Tuesday was ordered to pay $502.6 million to VirnetX Holding Corp. after a grand jury in Texas found that the iPhone maker infringed patents related to secure communications, according to Bloomberg.

The judgment is the latest in an 8-year-old legal battle between Apple and VirnetX, a company that makes most of its money from licensing patented technology that creates virtual private networks over the internet. VirnetX filed a trio of lawsuits in 2010 alleging that Apple's FaceTime, VPN on Demand and iMessage features infringed four VirnetX patents.

A verdict in February 2016 ordered Apple to pay VirnetX $625.6 million in damages after two lawsuits were combined. But in August of that year, a federal judge voided the verdict, saying that combining two lawsuits into a single trial confused the jurors and was unfair to Apple. He ruled that both cases needed to be tried separately.

In October 2017, a federal judge in Texas awarded VirtnetX $439.7 million in damages -- nearly $140 million higher than the $302.4 million Apple was ordered to pay VirtnetX a year earlier in yet another trial.

VirtnetX spokesman Greg Wood called the verdict "fair and appropriate," but the judgment may ultimately have little impact as the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled the patents invalid in 2016.

Apple representatives didn't respond to a request for comment.

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