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Patent troll sues Apple for a second time

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 09 Nov 2011 10:26 User comments (3)

Patent troll sues Apple for a second time A company called VirnetX didn't wait for the ink to dry on their new VPN patent before suing Apple for infringing on it at the beginning of the month.
VirnetX is a typical non-practicing entity (ie patent troll) whose sole business is to be suing other companies for infringement and charging other people who actually do make products. VirnetX's patents, including this new one, revolve around VPNs.

VirnetX's previous lawsuits include multiple victories against Microsoft and a case against Apple which is still pending.

In addition to the lawsuit, VirnetX has filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission seeking to ban imports of the allegedly infringing products.

According to their latest suit, Apple has been willfully infringing on VirnetX's brand new patent for several years. If you look at the patent, it certainly seems likely Apple has been using the method VirnetX claims to have invented.

VirnetX CEO and President Kendall Larsen has released a laughable statement on the ITC complaint saying, "We look forward to the ITC vindicating our substantial and significant efforts to innovate."

As with most patent troll lawsuits, that's because there really isn't anything new or inobvious about it. The entire patent is summed up in a diagram:



If you know anything about VPNs or networking, and perhaps even if you don't, there's probably nothing here you couldn't have come up with on your own.

Unfortunately for Apple, and really everyone since we all end up paying for these suits in the cost of new products, VirnetX is suing in an East Texas court known for being favorable for patent claims.

Is it any wonder Google is complaining about the patent system stifling innovation?

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3 user comments

19.11.2011 13:49

You've taken oversimplification to an all new level. Consider the following for other concept using your same flowchart

Warp wings such that air pressure is lower above than below.
Begin to accelerate.
Sufficient speed?
If no, crash.
If yes, fly.

The benefit of hindsight is it always provides clarity.

The benefit of a patent is it protects against hindsight, such that the innovator is fairly rewarded for the initial creativity and investment.

VirnetX was originally a few very intelligent individuals who developed internet data transmission security. Apple et al (allegedly) chose to infringe rather than license. They still have that option, of course they have to work out a settlement for past indiscretion.

Microsoft has already lost this battle, paying $200 million for their disregard. I suspect this will not go to court. It's a shame it takes the threat of litigation to get these big companies to do what's right.

210.11.2011 0:30

I blame the patent office...they will grant a patent for anything if you pay them enough money. Seriously...you could probably patent using lungs to breath air. You might have trouble getting a court to honor it, but you could patent it none the less, assuming you had enough money to push it through.

Of course, if you actually create something new and you try to patent it without a fortune in bribes, then it will take 5 years to get a patent, and the patent suit against the companies that steal the idea will take another 20 years, at which point the judge will say that they have to pay you whenever they use your 25-year-old patent in the future, in spite of the fact that they stopped using it 10 years before. In the end you will be lucky if you get a reward to cover the lawyer fees.

This is what patent law has become: If you are small and creative a patent is useless. If you are big and you copy people who are small and creative, you steal their patent. If you are big and you are stealing a patent that some other big company patented, they can block you from releasing newer, better products...and vice versa. This is the exact opposite of what the patent office was setup for...but it is hardly the worse thing the government does.



312.11.2011 0:07

East Texas. That says it all.

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