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VirnetX complains to International Trade Commission that Apple is infringing its secure communications patent

VirnetX says Apple
infringes on its patent

The U.S. International Trade Commission announced on Nov. 10 that it has received a complaint from VirnetX, a secure communications company based in Zephyr Cove, NV, alleging that Apple, Inc., has infringed its U.S. patent and violated section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930. VirnetX requested that Apple be prohibited from importing into the U.S. some of its iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers.

The International Trade Commission has solicited comments from the public on VirnetX’s complaint, which can be found at its Website, according to a Federal Register notice.

VirnetX’s patent, number 8,051,181, relates to a method for establishing a secure communication link between computers in a virtual private network.

“A technique is disclosed for establishing a secure communication link between a first computer and a second computer over a computer network,” says the official abstract in VirnetX’s patent application. “Initially, a secure communication mode of communication is enabled at a first computer without a user entering any cryptographic information for establishing the secure communication mode of communication. Then, a secure communication link is established between the first computer and a second computer over a computer network based on the enabled secure communication mode of communication. The secure communication link is a virtual private network communication link over the computer network in which one or more data values that vary according to a pseudo-random sequence are inserted into each data packet.”

VirnetX Holding Corp., a secure real-time communications and collaboration technology company, announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, VirnetX, Inc., filed a complaint on Nov. 4 with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) alleging that Apple Inc has engaged in unfair trade practices by the importation of certain devices with secure communication capabilities that infringe one or more claims of VirnetX’s U.S. patent. The accused products include the latest iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers.

VirnetX has requested that the ITC institute an investigation into Apple’s allegedly infringing imports and ultimately issue an Exclusion Order to bar importation of those Apple products. VirnetX also seeks a Cease and Desist Order to bar further sales and other domestic commercial activities of infringing Apple products that have already been imported.

VirnetX expects that the ITC investigation will formally commence on or about December 6, 2011, and that the case will be tried late in the summer of 2012.

On November 1, 2011, VirnetX also filed suit against Apple in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. That complaint includes allegations of patent infringement regarding its patent and VirnetX seeks both damages and injunctive relief.

“We believe that the ITC plays a valuable role in protecting U.S. industries and in preventing unfair trade practices.” said Kendall Larsen, VirnetX CEO and president. “We look forward to the ITC vindicating our substantial and significant efforts to innovate.”