Why VirnetX Holding Corp. Stock Skyrocketed Today

The patent litigation specialist is up big after a favorable verdict in one of its cases against Apple.

Steve Symington
Steve Symington
Oct 3, 2016 at 1:17PM
Technology and Telecom

Image source: Getty Images

What happened

Shares of VirnetX Holding Corp. (NYSEMKT:VHC) were up 34.7% as of 12:30 p.m. EDT Monday after the patent litigation company announced a big legal win in its case against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

So what

VirnetX confirmed that on Friday, Sept. 30, 2016, a jury in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division, awarded the company $302.4 million in a verdict against Apple for infringing four VirnetX patents.

More specifically, this verdict covers royalties for Apple's violation of VirnetX's '504 and '211 patents. Or, as VirnetX puts it, "unresolved issues in the Apple I case, remanded back from the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit," regarding damages owed to VirnetX for infringement by Apple's VPN-on-Demand and alleged infringement by Apple's original FaceTime application.

"We are extremely pleased with the jury verdict announced today," added VirnetX CEO Kendall Larsen. "This is the third time a jury has confirmed that Apple has been using the technology developed by our inventors."

For perspective, recall VirnetX shares plunged in early August after the same U.S. District Court vacated its previous order to consolidate VirnetX's two cases, ordering instead they be retried as separate cases, dubbed Apple I and Apple II. So we're still waiting on the outcome of the Apple II case, which covers alleged infringement, damages, and willfulness of Apple's redesigned versions of both its VPN-on-Demand and FaceTime products in iOS 7 and iOS 8, as well as FaceTime in OS X 10.9 and OS X 10.10 and iMessage.

To that end, VirnetX anticipates a jury trial in the Apple II case to be scheduled shortly after the conclusion of the Apple I case.

Now what

We can also be sure, however, that Apple will promptly appeal this decision, drawing out an already lengthy and expensive legal battle that will make it as difficult as possible for a non-practicing entity like VirnetX to actually collect on the judgment. So while this is absolutely an enormous win for VirnetX, I won't be surprised if the company weathers more volatility -- both up and down -- in the days ahead. And I think investors would be wise to take at least some of Monday's quick profits off the table.