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California-based Apple accused of patent infringement

In the California business world, intellectual property can certainly be a hot topic. Companies with intellectual property assets like patents, copyrights and trademarks must often vigorously defend those resources. One recent patent infringement lawsuit pits California-based Apple Inc. against a company called VirnetX Holding Corp., which is based in a different state.

VirnetX filed a complaint in a U.S. District Court alleging that Apple has violated four of their patents. The patents relate to using a domain-name service in order to establish virtual private networks (VPN). This process allows website owners to interact with their consumers in a method that is more secure. Alternatively, a company’s employees may be able to access files from their work computers while they are working at a home computer in their own personal residence.

Apple disputes VirnetX’s claim that they have infringed upon their patents. VirnetX’s lawsuit holds that the other company owes them $708 million for using its VPN technology in Apple’s FaceTime function on some of their products, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad and Mac computers. According to Apple, they owe nothing to VirnetX because they have not infringed upon any of their patents.

This particular patent infringement case has heated up so much that the District Judge presiding over the case has ordered both sides to inform their investors that they need to stop clogging up the court with telephone calls. California businesses going through intellectual property disputes of their own may find this case interesting to follow. Patent infringement lawsuits are one way in which companies may be able to vigorously defend their intellectual property assets.

Source: Bloomberg News, “Rosetta, Google, Apple, VirnetX: Intellectual Property,” Ellen Rosen, Nov. 1, 2012

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