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Why VirnetX Holding Corp. Stock Plummeted Today

By Steve Symington – Aug 1, 2016 at 12:37PM

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The patent litigator's shares dropped after a negative development in its case against Apple.


What: Shares of VirnetX Holding Corp. (VHC 0.59%) were down 41.8% as of 11:30 a.m. EDT Monday after the patent litigation company announced a U.S. District Court ordered a retrial of its previously consolidated cases against Apple (AAPL 0.11%).

So what: More specifically, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, issued a new order in VirnetX's pending litigation against Apple, vacating its previous order to consolidate the two cases and ordered they be retried as separate cases. 

VirnetX CEO Kendall Larsen stated they are "disappointed" by the decision, adding:

We are reviewing all our options and will follow the Court's directions as we start preparing for these retrials. We are confident that we have the resources required for these retrials. We trust that the jury will again make the right decision in these retrials.

Now what: But that's little consolation for investors, considering VirnetX stock had already plunged more than 17% in the month of June, namely amid skepticism for whether it would be able to collect the full $625 million judgment previously awarded through its litigation against the Cupertino-based tech giant.

As it stands, then, VirnetX has two pending infringement cases against Apple. The first, dubbed Apple I, covers both unresolved remanded issues related to damages owed for infringement by Apple's original VPN-on-Demand and alleged infringement, damages, and willfulness of Apple's first FaceTime product. And the second, dubbed Apple II, covers alleged infringement, damages, and willfulness of Apple's redesigned versions of both those products in iOS 7 and 8 as well as FaceTime in OS X 10.9 and 10.10 and iMessage.

In the end, however -- and regardless of whether VirnetX is ultimately successful in these two cases -- this new order means more time and expensive litigation before VirnetX will be able to collect any money from Apple for its alleged patent infringement, and it's no surprise to see investors taking another big step back from the company today.

Steve Symington owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Apple. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2018 $90 calls on Apple and short January 2018 $95 calls on Apple. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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