Apple ordered to pay $500 million in iMessage patent suit

Cupertino has been battling VirnetX's lawsuit for the past eight years.

A federal jury in Eastern Texas has just ordered Apple to pay VirnetX, a company widely regarded as a patent troll, $502.6 million in damages. It's the latest development in a legal battle that started way back in 2010 when VirnetX filed a lawsuit against the tech giant, accusing it of infringing on its intellectual properties. VirnetX claims that FaceTime, iMessage and VPN on Demand violate four of its patents related to secure communications. "The evidence was clear," VirnetX chief Kendall Larsen said after the court's decision was announced. "Tell the truth and you don't have to worry about anything."

Apple, however, has never wavered in its stance that it did nothing wrong despite having to endure a bumpy rollercoaster ride in court. It was ordered to pay $625 million back in 2016, which federal Judge Robert Schroeder threw out a few months later. A couple of months after that, a federal jury in Texas ordered the tech titan to pay up yet again, though they slashed the amount by half ($302.4 million). Apple pursued another appeal, but the company lost and was ordered to pay $439.7 million.

Part of the reason why VirnetX has been coming out on top is because it filed the lawsuit in Eastern Texas, which is a region notorious for ruling in favor of patent trolls. Whether this new decision sticks remains to be seen, though, since the Patent Trial and Appeal Board already invalidated the patents involved in the case even before the Texas court handed down its verdict. It's unlikely that Apple would give in and pay knowing that, so we definitely haven't seen the last of this battle.