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Now VirnetX wants Apple to block Facetime and iMessage; patent trolls


Following a court ruling in February this year, which saw Apple cough up $625.6 million to VirnetX, the patent-holding company has once again taken to the courts demanding Apple shut down its Facetime and iMessage services, reports BBC. These were the products in question during the earlier trial and were found to be in direct infringement of patents held by VirnetX.

The Nevada-based company now wants the court to stop Apple from using its technology to power Facetime and iMessage. Apparently, their own messaging and video conferencing app Gabriel Collaborative Suite is under performing in the market because of Apple’s popular products. Apple will be contesting this in court and has said that iPhone, iPad and Mac users are the ones likely to be most affected if these communication services were to be blocked.

VirnetX is often accused of being a patent troll, which the company categorically denied, saying that it doesn’t just hold patent licenses but develops technology products for its Gabriel platform and the defense sector as well. This argument was also the primary reason the courts ruled decisively in their favour. However, it’s worth noting that their income doesn’t support their claim. The company reported $375,000 revenue for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, identical to revenue generates in the same quarter last year. It’s operating expenses were $8.99 million, resulting in $8.6 million loss from operations.

Another interesting bit of information in their latest quarterly report is that they currently hold cash and cash equivalents worth $9.27 million, down from $13.29 million in the same period last year.

However, patent trolls are real

A recent lawsuit has alleged that Apple’s iPhones and iPads are in violation of patents held by Corydorus Technology, and these patents pertain to features such as making calls and checking & replying to emails. This company isn’t really a technology company. It owns patents which it licenses and every once in a while sues a technology company for violating patents. There many others like Corydorus, and interestingly East Texas is their favourite litigation filing destination. There’s hope that the Venue Act, if passed, will curtail the growth of patent trolls.

Apple financials

The company reported revenues of $50.5 billion for the quarter ended March 31, 2016, compared to $58 billion in the same quarter last year. Net profit stood at $10.5 billion compared to $13.5 billion in the same period last year. CEO Tim Cook claimed that iPhone sales were up 56% this quarter in India. Earlier in November 2015, Apple India crossed the $1 billion sales mark for FY15. The registrar of companies filings showed that Apple India posted a 44% increase in sales to Rs 6,472.89 crore from Rs 4,500.35 crore and net profit doubled to Rs 242.85 crore from Rs 119.48 crore. Globally however, iPhone sales slowed. Apple sold 51.2 million iPhones this quarter, down from 61.2 million iPhones in the same quarter last year.

Also read: On FRAND’s And The Ericsson Vs Micromax Patent Battle – iPleaders

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