Not All Patents Are Created Equal

Not All Patents Are Created Equal

Following Apple’s monumental billion-dollar win against Samsung in what may be looked upon as the biggest IP technology decision of 2012, Apple CEO Timothy Cook released a memo that stated the following:

The jury has now spoken. We applaud them for finding Samsung’s behavior willful and for sending a loud and clear message that stealing isn’t right.

I am very proud of the work that each of you do. Today, values have won and I hope the whole world listens.

Unfortunately for Mr. Cook, not all patents are created equal. VirnetX, an internet security software and technology company, and Apple are scheduled to begin a week long jury trial on October 31st, 2012 over a patent-infringement suit wherein VirnetX claims Apple stole its VPN on-demand technology. The jury in this case will soon begin to hear evidence and determine if Apple has been using VirnetX’s patented secure communication technology illegally in its hottest-selling products.

The judge in the case recently granted most of VirnetX’s proposed sanctions against Apple for interfering with a witness’s deposition. Previously it was Samsung that was ultimately sanctioned 4 times for failing to turn over evidence. However, this time around Apple was caught red-handed interfering with one of its engineer’s depositions.

There is a lot on the line for both companies involved in this case. The sanctions will undoubtedly better the plaintiff’s position in its uphill legal battle with tech-goliath Apple, helping it to secure a license for potentially billions of dollars in future sales. For Apple, the sanctions are causing headaches and put it at risk of having to pay damages, future royalties, and face a potential injunction of sales of its top-selling products. The alleged infringing products include the Apple iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and the iPad.

After winning a $1.05 billion settlement from Samsung, it appears that Apple may be on the hook for billions of dollars in damages for future sales of its own products. While it is obviously important to protect ideas from unauthorized use within the scope of the law, in Apple’s case, at least for now, it seems the shoe is on the other foot.

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