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The U.S. International Trade Commission has decided to investigate a complaint from software maker VirnetX (AMEX:VHC) that alleged several Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) devices infringed on its wireless patents. VirnetX filed the complaint with the commission in September, arguing that the iPhone maker was using its patented method of securely connecting two computer devices over a wireless network.
The Internet security and technology company named the iPhone, the iPad, and Mac computers in its filing and asked for an import ban on infringing Apple products. VirnetX also suggested in its filing that it was willing to work on a settlement agreement out of court.
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The ITC is yet to assign the case to one of its six administrative law judges, but the commission usually sets a target date of completion within 45 days of starting the investigation. A trial is likely to be scheduled for mid- or late-2013. ITC judges have a system of holding an evidentiary hearing and making an initial determination about the occurrence of violation before the regulatory body reviews the decision.
VirnetX released a statement to the media recently that said patent infringement suits were also being filed against Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO), Avaya, and Siemens (NYSE:SI). The company previously sued Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) in 2007 and again in 2010 over two VPN-related patents and won a $105 million judgment. The two companies eventually settled through a $200 million deal.
According to CNET, Unwired Planet (NASDAQ:UPIP), which targeted Apple and Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the ITC last month with patent complaints, rescinded its filings with the agency on Tuesday. However, its federal cases against the two smartphone leaders are still pending.
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