On February 24 2020, the United States Supreme Court denied Apple’s petition to revive its longstanding patent litigation against security software company VirnetX. This decision from the Court leaves Apple to pay VirnetX a $439.8 million damages award, the latest in a decade-long dispute involving numerous trials and appeals.

The patents at issue include US Patent No. 7,418,504 and US Patent No. 7,921,211, both related to internet security technology, which Apple allegedly infringed in the development of its video calling app FaceTime. The dispute began in 2010 when VirnetX brought suit against Apple in the Eastern District of Texas concerning four patents.

The case has since been litigated in multiple venues, including a recent 2019 appeal by Apple at the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Last August a panel partially upheld claims in VirnetX’s patents, which resulted in an unsuccessful petition for en banc rehearing by Apple. The Supreme Court’s recent denial is in relation to this Federal Circuit appeal.

The high-dollar damages award stems from an Eastern District of Texas ruling in 2017, which found Apple had willfully infringed the patents at issue, and was liable to pay VirnetX an enhanced sum of $440 million.

Company response

“We are extremely pleased with the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Apple’s writ of certiorari,” VirnetX CEO and President Kendall Larsen said in a press release. “It has taken us 10 long years, 4 successful jury trials, 2 successful appellate court rulings and a favorable Supreme Court decision to get here … We trust Apple will honor the decisions rendered by our courts and their esteemed judges and honor an agreement to abide by the court’s decision.”

Law firm representatives

VirnetX was represented at the Supreme Court by MoloLamken, while Apple was represented by Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, including IP Star Joshua Rosenkranz. Orrick is ranked nationally in the United States for patent litigation.

In the underlying 2019 Federal Circuit appeal, VirnetX was represented by Paul Hastings, including IP Star Naveen Modi. Apple was represented by WilmerHale and Sidley Austin. All three firms are ranked nationally for patent litigation.