What happened

VirnetX Holding (NYSEMKT:VHC) stock gained 19.4% in February, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. The software and intellectual-property company scored a big legal win against Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in January, as an appeals court shut down the tech giant's challenge to a previous ruling that found it had infringed on patents held by VirnetX. The decision sent VirnetX shares skyrocketing, and the positive momentum continued last month.

VHC Chart

VHC data by YCharts.

The appellate court judge presiding over the matter reaffirmed the district judge's initial ruling finding Apple liable for $439.8 million in damages stemming from patent infringement. VirnetX stock gained 112.5% in January, with most of the stock's movement related to the case, and the gains rolled into February and March.

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So what

The initial intellectual-property case actually kicked off back in 2010 and alleged that Apple had used communications security technologies and other software in apps including FaceTime and iMessage without the proper license. The overall situation regarding these issues and the legal battle between the two companies over the general matter has actually been going on for more than nine years. January's appeals court ruling upheld the previous judgment finding that Apple had infringed on patents held by VirnetX -- and this set the smaller company up to receive a substantial payday.

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Now what

VirnetX stock has continued to gain ground in March, with shares trading up roughly 14.9% in the month so far.

VHC Chart

VHC data by YCharts.

VirnetX stock has now nearly tripled year to date and sports a market capitalization of $467 million as of this writing -- roughly $30 million more than the judgment in the Apple case. Of course, the court battle does not appear to be over, with both companies appealing different judgments related to the issue, so it's still too early to fully bake that money into VirnetX's valuation.