“A federal judge has thrown out a verdict requiring Apple Inc to pay VirnetX Holding Corp $625.6 million for infringing four patents relating to Internet security technology, causing VirnetX’s share price to plunge,” Jonathan Stempel and Andrew Chung report for Reuters. “VirnetX shares were down $1.93, or 44.6 percent, at $2.40 in Monday morning trading, after earlier falling to $2.14.”
“In a decision late Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert Schroeder in Tyler, Texas said it was unfair to Apple that two VirnetX lawsuits had been combined into a single trial,” Stempel and Chung report. “He said jurors may have been confused by more than 50 references to the earlier case, though it contained “incredibly similar” issues, and deferred improperly to the prior jury’s findings when it found Apple’s liable for willful infringement. ‘The repeated references to the prior jury verdict in the consolidated case resulted in an unfair trial,’ Schroeder wrote.”
Stempel and Chung report, “He ordered that both cases be retried separately, with the first trial beginning on Sept. 26.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in February, this was a “ludicrous rocket docket joke award that won’t stand up in a real court.” Looks like it was such a joke that it couldn’t even stand up in the rocket docket itself.
Patent troll VirnetX wants judge to block Apple’s FaceTime, iMessage services – May 26, 2016
Apple hit with $626 million damages in VirnetX patent case – February 3, 2016
VirnetX’s $368 million jury award against Apple tossed by appeals court – September 16, 2014
Apple to make changes to VPN behavior in iOS 6.1 as result of VirnetX judgement – April 5, 2013
Judge upholds $368 million patent suit verdict for VirnetX against Apple – February 27, 2013
Jury slaps Apple with $368.2 million fine over VirnetX patents – November 7, 2012
VirnetX awarded new security patent files new complaint against Apple – November 1, 2011
The problem in the Eastern District of Texas is twofold:
1. The judges apply criteria for deciding summary judgment motions that are much stricter than in most Federal districts, resulting in more cases getting to trial before a jury. The term “rocket docket” stems from the tendency of cases in the ED of Tx to get to trial much faster than in districts where most cases are really decided in a series of pretrial hearings.
2. The juries in the Piney Woods are composed of people—largely lumberjacks, farmers, oilfield workers, and such—who are almost uniquely unfit to understand and adjudicate complex technical issues. Few of them even remember what they were taught in high school basic science courses. As poor working class folks who have been royally screwed by Big Business and The System, their natural inclination is to resolve any doubts in favor of the plaintiff and against the corporate defendant.
The result is a lot of silly judgments that get reversed on appeal
Another problem is that in many of the cases, the plaintiffs are represented by the sons of the presiding judges. I don’t think there’s much light between the judges, lawyers or juries. It’s all pretty much a “let’s go get them left-coast city boys” coalition. Big companies like Apple can afford to fight back and win, so now the good ol’ boys shake down people like app developers that can’t afford to mount a $3M defense effort.
Maybe someone should buy a few of those pocket Constitutions and pass them around in the Easter District.
Except that Apple has just a few employees not too far from them “poor folks.” TxUser is close to spot-on with a couple exceptions. When I lived there about 4 years ago the area was seeing a fair amount of growth. Tyler is far from an uneducated town, but they are not educated in technology as much as we would like. While we might whine about the perceived good ol boys thing, it actually isn’t anywhere near as bad as what is going on in the DNC or other parts of the country that have large amounts of governmental institutions. Not by a long-shot.
People are very fair minded there in East Texas, much more so than the so-called progressives here in the Madison, WI area. I don’t want to make this about issues here in Madison, but I was sorely disappointed at how bad racism is here compared to the south. All things being equal, things are worse here and in Miwaukee than I ever saw in Texas. I bring it up because we have to let go of these old stereotypes both about Texas, the South and so-called progressive locations. I don’t like that companies use E.T.’s (hmmm… No pun or allusion intended) judicial structure and jury pool to their lawsuit-tending advantage, but to blame it on or even suggest it is due in part to an old and stale mentality is to not give them the benefit of the doubt that people can actually better themselves. The fact that things are much more racially integrated there than in many other parts of the country that are thought to be more on social cutting edge is a testament to that.
What has this got to do with the DNC or racial discrimination? Changing the subject or asserting that things are worse somewhere else is no justification for deliberate bad behavior.
For edification about patent trolls and the Eastern District of Texas, United States District Court, watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG9UMMq2dz4 . It’s just breathtaking. Be sure to watch all 20 minutes. Names are named.
The perpetrators of this miscarriage, on both sides of the Bar, are neither fair-minded nor American. They are just scam artists using the judicial system to line their pockets. And “good-ole-boyism” isn’t just a black and white issue. It manifests itself in many ways. But, you might be able to offer some insight as to why this area has this particular infestation.