It has been quite a busy week in the patent litigation world. On November 7, VirnetX (VHC) kicked Apple’s (AAPL) butt and was awarded $368 million in Federal court in a notoriously plaintiff friendly venue in the sleepy little east Texas town of Tyler, Texas. In another David versus Goliath struggle in Norfolk, Virginia, a federal jury concluded Google
(GOOG), as well as AOL, Target (TGT), Gannet Co., and IAC Search and Media infringed on internet search filtering technology held by ring tone company Vringo (VRNG). The total award was only $30 million plus a “running” royalty of 3.5% of a “portion” of Google’s search revenue. This amount is estimated at several million dollars per year until 2016 patent expiration. Upon cursory glance, VirnetX smashed a home run while Vringo made due with a single. You don’t have to go too far under water to see there is much more at work here. Juries are sympathetic to inventors. Creative people should be compensated for their efforts. These verdicts suggest the door is now wide open for Vringo and VirnetX to go after other companies who may be illegitimately using their science. So what appears only a single for Vringo may turn into multiple base hits. VirnetX has pending litigation against such giants as Cisco (CSCO) and Siemens (SI) alleging the same infringement that Apple was just found guilty of. In both of these lawsuits the original patent holders sought the help and expertise of so called “Patent Trolls” to assist them in monetizing their creations. Ken Lang, after acquiring patents he himself filed from previous employer and now defunct search engine LYCOS, is now CTO at Vringo. Edmund Munger, who joined VirnetX, procured the eponymous “Munger patent family” from government contactor Science Application International Corp. (SAIC) where he was previously employed.
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