California - The U.S. International Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it will pursue an investigation into whether Apple Inc. is importing electronic devices into the U.S. that infringe a VirnetX Inc. patent.
The ITC's action comes in response to a complaint VirnetX and Science Applications International Corp. filed in September alleging Apple is violating Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930 by importing devices with secure communications applications. The accused products include the latest iPhones, iPads, iPods, and Macintosh computers.
VirnetX has asked the ITC to institute an investigation into Apple's allegedly infringing imports and ultimately issue an exclusion order to bar importation of those Apple products. The company is also seeking a cease and desist order to stop further sales and other domestic commercial activities of infringing Apple products that have already been imported.
"The USITC has not yet made any decision on the merits of the case," the commission said.
After having a previous ITC complaint against Apple dismissed, VirnetX is now bringing the complaint jointly with SAIC, which sold VirnetX part of its patent portfolio in 2006. SAIC had to be included to remove a procedural standing issue that was identified as the reason for dismissal of VirnetX's previous complaint.
"We feel confident that our re-filing satisfies all previous ITC issues," VirnetX CEO and President Kendall Larsen said in a statement. "We now look forward to our case schedule and assignment of an Administrative Law Judge. We believe the merits of our complaint are strong and substantial."
VirnetX's U.S. Patent Number 8,051,181, which issued on November 1, 2011, is titled "Method for establishing secure communication link between computers of virtual private network."
Initially, a secure communication mode of communication is enabled at a first computer without a user entering any cryptographic information for establishing the secure communication mode of communication, according to the patent abstract. Then, a secure communication link is established between the first computer and a second computer over a computer network based on the enabled secure communication mode of communication.