Judge tells Apple it took too long to try to recoup the $454 million it paid VirnetX over patents

How to make a FaceTime call on iPhone, iPad, or Mac
How to make a FaceTime call on iPhone, iPad, or Mac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple paid VirnetX $454 million in March after it infringed upon network security patents.
  • Apple intended to try to recoup some of that money after the patents were invalidated.
  • But a judge has now told Apple it took too long to do so.

Apple has been told that it left it too late to try and recoup some of the $454 million it paid to VirtnetX after it was found guilty of infringing upon network security patents in its FaceTime and VPN software. Those patents were later invalidated and Apple wanted to get some of its cash back.

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Schroeder III says that isn't going to happen, however, after Apple took too long to get its affairs in order according to a Law360 report.

U.S. District Judge Robert W. Schroeder III said it was unacceptable for Apple Inc. to wait five months after a Federal Circuit ruling to request relief from the judgment, when the tech giant "immediately" knew the arguments it was going to present. Apple was otherwise unable to justify the delay, he said.

Apple paid the money in March , but that came after VirtnetX saw some of its patents invalidated. That led Apple to request that the new patent ruling be taken into account for its own case, but the Federal Circuit wouldn't let it. Two months later, Apple filed a US Supreme Court petition to challenge the Federal Circuit's stance. That was also shot down, but not before Apple filed a Rule 60(b) motion – the motion that's just been kicked back by the judge. According to Judge Schroeder, Apple's Federal Circuit motion and Rule 60(b) motion were too similar. And their similarity meant Apple didn't need so long to get it submitted.

"Apple's proposed second petition for rehearing bears a striking similarity to the Rule 60 motion filed before this court: entire paragraphs were copied and pasted from one filing into the other," Judge Schroeder said. "Yet, after the Federal Circuit denied Apple's request for leave, Apple waited 142 days before refiling that motion here. Because Apple drafted a substantively identical motion in six days, it did not need five months to reframe that motion as a request for relief under Rule 60(b)."

The ins and outs of the patent debacle are covered in detail over on Law360 for those who want to dive deeper into the mess that is VirtnetX.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.