Law360 reports that Apple has urged a Texas federal court to delay its upcoming US$700 million retrial with VirnetX, saying infection rates in the areas surrounding the courthouse are so high that it’s “a virtual certainty that someone with COVID-19 will be at the trial,” according to a motion unsealed Wednesday.
This is part of a legal battle that’s been raging for six years. In January 2014, VirnetX, considered by many (including me) to be a “patent troll,” filed a motion with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas seeking to supplement its infringement contentions against Apple, the defendant in a patent infringement lawsuit. The tech giant is accused of violating four patents.
In April 2018, a jury found that Apple infringed all four and ordered the company to pay more than $500 million in damages, which was later raised to $600 million with fees and interest. But the damages award was thrown out by the Federal Circuit, which ruled in November that Apple had only infringed two of the four patents.
By the way, a patent troll is an individual or an organization that purchases and holds patents for unscrupulous purposes such as stifling competition or launching patent infringement suits. In legal terms, a patent troll is a type of non-practicing entity: someone who holds a patent but is not involved in the design or manufacture of any product or process associated with that patent.