One of the ways Nevada businesses can protect their intellectual property is through registering a patent. Taking the proper measures ahead of time can prevent the theft of trade secrets, which can be quite costly. Further, putting a patent, copyright or trademark in place can give a company legal standing in the event that theft does occur. As a recent lawsuit illustrates, patents on certain items could be worth millions in the long run.
VirnetX, a patent-licensing company based in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, initially won $368 million in damages in 2012 after suing Apple for infringing on the company’s patents. Additionally, the business was closing in on getting a nearly 1 percent running royalty. However, that case was appealed, and the ruling was overturned. There is now another trial taking place essentially as a do-over.
VirnetX alleges that Apple’s FaceTime video calls and its virtual private networks, or VPN, technology infringe on patents that VirnetX has in place. The appeals court ruled that the VPN on Demand service that Apple offers is in violation. Therefore, the new trial is expected to focus on FaceTime.
This is not the first time that VirnetX has taken on big companies over intellectual property rights. Microsoft paid the company $200 million in an initial settlement and later paid another $23 million over a dispute regarding Skype. Regardless of the outcome to the lawsuit against Apple, the case does illustrate the need for businesses to know and understand intellectual property law. Anyone with questions about the issue should consult with an attorney.
Source: ARS Technica, “Patent troll VirnetX wants jury to give it a half-billion dollars and Apple’s cash,” Joe Mullin, Jan. 25, 2016