Judge Robert Schroeder said in a decision on 29 July at the US District Court for the District of Eastern Texas that two lawsuits that had been combined into a single trial led to jurors being unknowingly influenced by a prior verdict.
The cases, referred to by VirnetX as Apple I and Apple II, will now be tried separately.
The cases had previously been combined after the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit had remanded Apple I and vacated the $368 million damages award VirnetX had won.
VirnetX said that the issues in Apple I were largely similar to the issues in Apple II and that all of these issues could be decided at the trial for the second case.
But this was ultimately unfair for Apple, Judge Schroeder ruled.
VirnetX was awarded the $625.6 million judgement earlier this year in the combined case and was confident in its victory, with Caldwell Cassidy, attorney at VirnetX, saying “Apple has been infringing VirnetX’s patented technology for years”.
Kendall Larsen, VirnetX's CEO and president, commented on 29 July: “We are disappointed by the court’s decision to vacate its prior ruling.”
“We are reviewing all our options ... we trust that the jury will again make the right decision in the retrials.”
Apple I, which covers the alleged infringement of VirnetX patents in Apple’s VPN-on-Demand, as well as alleged infringement in Apple’s FaceTime product, is scheduled for jury selection on 26 September, unless both parties agree to an alternative date.
Apple II, which covers similar alleged infringement by Apple’s redesigned VPN-on-Demand, FaceTime and iMessage services, will be retried after Apple I.