While Cisco was able to beat VirnetX this year, Apple was not so lucky last year, resulting in a $368 million penalty. The company, in its quarterly filings, included a form that states they have not taken a write-off for this money, because they intend to fight the ruling.
Now, I don't think anyone expected them to NOT fight the ruling, because if there is one thing Apple loves, it's court battles. In fact, they are already in another battle with VirnetX regarding the exact same patents they lost with before, but on new devices, such as the iPhone 5 and iPad mini.
The company said in its filing,
The Company is challenging the verdict, believes it has valid defenses and has not recorded a loss accrual at this time.
While they believe they have defense, they did make a semi-breaking change to the infringing software removing the option to maintain VPN (Virtual Private Network) access and instead changed the option from "always" to "when needed" for connections. That sounds like an admission of guilt to me, or at least an admission of NOT fighting the ruling. The setting, in a recent update, has been reverted, however.
The flipping change in policy could either indicate giving in to massive frustration from customers, who apparently hated the change, or a change of direction from the legal department. It is possible that the initial intention of Apple was to not fight the ruling and merely pay the fine and move on with its day, but something has changed their mind. It could be the customer feedback on the setting change, or it could be some new information, or newly acquired patent, that allows them to believe in a win.
The other possibility is that someone just got a bug after Cisco's win and decided to use their strategy in court. No mater the reasoning, I am glad to see Apple fighting the ruling. VPN services are essential on mobile devices and not being able to accurately support them hurts the entire ecosystem. A loss here could mean a loss for everyone; go get the win, Apple.