updated 09:15 am EDT, Thu August 12, 2010
VirnetX tries to profit on Apple's back
VirnetX continued its attempts at making lawsuits its business model by filing a patent complaint late yesterday against several technology companies. Aastra, Apple, Cisco and NEC have been accused of violating five patents relating to secure communications without having to input information. The Tyler-based, Eastern District of Texas suit alleges that all of Apple's iOS devices, as well as VoIP phones from the other companies, are copying technology patented between 2002 and 2009.
As part of the relief it wants from the case, VirnetX is hoping to get a preliminary injunction to ban the devices in question from shipping while the lawsuit is still active and a permanent ban if it can't come to a deal. Unspecified damages are also part of the claims.
VirnetX has gained a reputation based on recent activities as a patent troll. Although rare in the category for actually having products to offer, such as a secure connection SDK and a secure domain name service, most of its recent emphasis has been on its "patent licensing" business which has usually involved suing other companies and pressuring them into either royalties or flat settlements. Microsoft paid $200 million to VirnetX to settle two lawsuits relating to patents like those in the new case.
Courts in Marshall and Tyler in Texas are often chosen as the homes of patent trolling lawsuits as they have historically ruled in favor of companies making the accusations.