Zenimax wins $500m in Oculus VR verdict

Oculus Rift

A Dallas jury has awarded US$500-million to Zenimax Media after it took legal action against Facebook-owned Oculus.

The gaming publisher claimed that it was responsible for the key technology used in the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. The case focused on former Zenimax employee and game development icon John Carmack, who joined Oculus in 2013.

Carmack told the court that he took email records, including VR-related code, when he left, Bloomberg reported.

The jury found against Zenimax’s claims of trade secret theft. However, it ordered Oculus to pay US$200-million for a non-disclosure agreement violation, US$50-million for improper use of Zenimax trademarks and US$50-million for copyright infringement.

Oculus was found not guilty of stealing trade secrets, but it’s still taken a hefty financial blow

So, what about the rest of the settlement?

Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe were also ordered to pay US$50-million and US$150-million respectively, for misuse of trademarks.

An Oculus spokesperson said the jury found “decisively” in their favour.

Could this lead to Zenimax seeking a suspension of Oculus Rift sales though?

“We will consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropriated technology, including by seeking an injunction to restrain Oculus and Facebook from their ongoing use of computer code that the jury found infringed ZeniMax’s copyrights,” read an excerpt of a press statement, as reported by Variety.



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