Apple hit with $440M in damages in VirnetX patent lawsuit

Judge issues final judgment in legal battle with patent holder that began in 2010.

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Judge issues final judgment in Apple's legal battle with patent holder VirnetX that began in 2010.

James Martin/CNET

Apple's years-long legal battle with VirnetX may finally be coming to a close.

A US District Court judge in Texas has entered a final judgment in the patent case, which accused Apple of infringing patents related to its iMessage and FaceTime features. The judgment, filed on Sept. 29, means Apple is on the hook for $439.7 million in damages, patent holding and security software company VirnetX said in a statement Monday.

The damages total is nearly $140 million higher than the $302.4 million Apple was ordered to pay VirtnetX a year ago. Willful infringement added another $41 million, while attorneys' fees and other costs tacked on another $96 million, VirtnetX said.

The judgment appears to be the end of a trio of lawsuits filed since 2010 against Apple by VirnetX, a company that makes most of its money from licensing patented technology that creates virtual private networks over the internet. VirnetX alleged Apple infringed patents covering secure computer and mobile communications.

A verdict in February 2016 ordered Apple to pay VirnetX $625.6 million in damages after two lawsuits were combined. But in August, 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.

Apple said it plans to appeal the decision.

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