Texas Judge Reverses $625M VirnetX Jury Verdict Against Apple
A Texas judge has overturned VirnetX Inc.’s $625M infringement verdict against Apple. In an order issued on July 29, District Judge Robert Schroeder III granted a motion for new trial filed by Apple, accepting the company’s arguments that the consolidation of two cases involving different versions of the same accused features had resulted in undue prejudice and confusion to the jury (6:10-cv-00417, 6:12-cv-00855). Judge Schroeder ruled that prejudice had indeed resulted from repeated mentions of the first infringement verdict at trial due to the “incredibly similar issues” shared by the cases. The complexity of the issues involved, Judge Schroeder continued, “magnified the risk of deference” to the first case, especially since the jury had been tasked with relying on the first verdict for the issue of willfulness but ignoring it for others. Confusion had also likely resulted from the fact that the earlier verdict had been partially reversed on appeal. Judge Schroeder concluded by reversing the court’s consolidation order, bifurcating the issue of willfulness in both cases, and scheduling jury selection in September for the retrial of the first-filed case.
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