Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of mobile security researcher VirnetX (AMEX: VHC) jumped as much as 20% in extremely heavy afternoon action.

So what: Around 2 p.m. Eastern, the rumor mill and message boards ran hot with the idea that Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) had been denied a request to re-examine a VirnetX patent. If true, this gives VirnetX a stronger leg to stand on in a patent infringement dispute with the iPhone maker.

Now what: VirnetX investors should be ready for the other shoe to drop, sending the share price like a rocket -- in either direction. A victory or settlement in the Apple case would be huge, but a defeat would crush the stock. A valid patent is a good start, but not a guarantee of ultimate victory. The only safe play on this hypervolatile stock is to either stay away or place options bets on high volatility.

Interested in more info about VirnetX? Click here to add it to My Watchlist.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.