ZeniMax wins $500 million judgment in Oculus lawsuit

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There’s been a legal war waging between the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset maker and Bethesda’s parent company ZeniMax for some time now. ZeniMax claims that Oculus misappropriated trade secrets and ignored non-disclosure agreements when it built its VR headset and the technologies surrounding it.

The case has been in court since January, and it’s now come to a close. A jury has found Oculus guilty of breaking those non-disclosure agreements, which means that the company now has to pay up. The VR maker has been ordered to pay half a billion dollars to ZeniMax for breaking the agreements. The same trial dismissed ZeniMax’s claims that Oculus misappropriated trade secrets, so they won’t be getting the 2 Billion Dollars they asked for.

Of that $500 million, Oculus has to shell out $200 million for breaking the NDA and a further $50 million for copyright infringement. Oculus and co-founder Palmer Luckey have to pay out a further $50 million for false designation, and the other co-founder, Brendan Iribe has to pay out $150 million.

ZeniMax is pleased.

“We are pleased that the jury in our case in the US District Court in Dallas has awarded ZeniMax $500 million for Defendants’ unlawful infringement of our copyrights and trademarks, and for the violation of our non-disclosure agreement with Oculus pursuant to which we shared breakthrough VR technology that we had developed and that we exclusively own,” the company said in a statement.

“In addition, the jury upheld our complaint regarding the theft by John Carmack of RAGE source code and thousands of electronic files on a USB storage device which contained ZeniMax VR technology. While we regret we had to litigate in order to vindicate our rights, it was necessary to take a stand against companies that engage in illegal activity in their desire to get control of new, valuable technology.”

Naturally, Oculus doesn’t find the outcome very appealing – so that’s exactly what they’ll be doing.

“The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor,” an Oculus spokesperson told Polygon. “We’re obviously disappointed by a few other aspects of today’s verdict, but we are undeterred. Oculus products are built with Oculus technology. Our commitment to the long-term success of VR remains the same, and the entire team will continue the work they’ve done since day one – developing VR technology that will transform the way people interact and communicate. “

As a result of the ruling (particularly the bit related to copyright), ZeniMax is seeking an injunction to have sales of the Rift halted.

“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,” ZeniMax chairman and CEO Robert Altman told GamesIndustry.

If this goes ahead, the Rift could be pulled from stores – but it’s more likely that the two technology companies will reach a settlement of some sort.

Last Updated: February 2, 2017

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Geoffrey Tim

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Dutch Matrix

    Eina toggie. My Wallet just started crying. Sympathy pain and all that!

    • PurplePariah

      Sympathy? For multi-billion-dollar company Facebook? No.

      • Hammersteyn

        Agreed

      • Dutch Matrix

        I like Facebook!

        • Original Heretic

          Downvote!!

          • Dutch Matrix

            There’s a downvote! Don’t threaten! Just do! 🙂

          • Original Heretic

            I tried to, but the little arrow just went red. No negative numbers allowed on Disqus, apparently.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            I still miss those.

          • Hammersteyn

            Ditto, I remember the Dragons Dogma review fondly

          • PurplePariah

            Yeah they removed that almost 2 years ago. Either that or it’s a CH (then Lagz) specific thing, when News24 trolls came in and went on a downvote spree. It disincentivised the mass downvote trolls.

          • Hammersteyn

            Also because everyone has feelings and Disqus is a safe space now

          • PurplePariah

            *spits* feelings.

          • Hammersteyn

            XD

          • HvR

            It all started when somebody touched VampyreSquirrel on his downvote button

          • Dutch Matrix

            Oh no. Disqus is the parent that hands out participant trophies. No more than one downvote per comment allowed.

          • Hammersteyn

            The good ole days where one could see who down voted who

        • PurplePariah

          You don’t make any sense.

          • Dutch Matrix

            I have not been put on this planet to make Sense!

          • Hammersteyn

            False, you like Stacey Poole and that makes sense to me

          • Dutch Matrix

            I did not say I will never make sense. Just that it is not my soul/sole purpose to do things that make sense…

          • Hammersteyn

            Makes sense

            😛

        • Hammersteyn

          Facebook is mostly for attention seekers, not saying that’s why you use it but that’s how I see it

          • Dutch Matrix

            Facebook is great for info sharing and the like and for keeping in touch with family and friends. Though yes, there are those who seem to thrive on the attention they get from their “Friends” when they sulk about the morning coffee being off or some such crap.

          • Hammersteyn

            Yup, I can live without that thanks

          • Original Heretic

            Look at you, trying to justify having Facebook.

          • Dutch Matrix

            I do not have to justify anything I do, Boet.

  • MonsterCheddar

    Pay them in Zim dollars.

    • Dutch Matrix

      You… you MONSTER!!!

      • PurplePariah

        There was a company that paid out a law suit in coins once. They delivered a truck or something to their head offices.

        • Dutch Matrix

          Hee hee hee! That is so deliciously evil!

          • PurplePariah

            Reminds me of when game devs include funny bits of code for cheaters. XD

        • Magoo

          Wasn’t it Samsung to Apple?

          • PurplePariah

            I think so, yes. XD

    • Hammersteyn

      It’ll cost more to print that amount of money

  • Admiral Chief

    Eina

  • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

    Geoff stole the idea of an Asian Journalist … law suite inbound 😛

  • Hammersteyn
  • Original Heretic

    If I had that much money, I’d never ever be heard from ever again.
    I’d live in seclusion in my underground bunker, kitted out with all the best tech I can get my grubby paws on.
    I’d hire a wilderness butler to grow awesome food using his own poop (he’ll have to be a vegetarian, clearly).

    • Hammersteyn

      I’d run for the president of USA. Apparently anyone can do it.

      • PurplePariah

        But you have to be tremendous enough for that. How Tremendous? Tremendously tremendous, let me tell you. So tremendous, even tremendous is jealous.

        Also you’ll need a bag of cheeto dust, some hair removal cream and a living wig.

        • Hammersteyn

          XD cheeto dust

      • Original Heretic

        You miss the one criteria that they actually insist on: you weren’t born there.
        That’s why Arnie could never run.

        • Hammersteyn

          I’ll use “Alternative facts” to bypass that clause. Checkmate

          • PurplePariah

            What a tremendous idea!

          • Original Heretic

            Did someone give you a “tremendous” challenge for the day?

          • PurplePariah

            I’m using my Trump card.

          • Original Heretic
          • PurplePariah

            *Smiling Melania*

            *Trump* ~ “You know, since it’s inauguration day, tonight’s going to be a special night for us, isn’t it?”

            *Smile gone*

          • Original Heretic

            MYSTERY SOLVED!!!!

            Best explanation ever!

          • Hammersteyn

            He’d make a marvelous sex tape, simply stupendous

          • Original Heretic

            Are you guys on a superlative spree?

          • PurplePariah

            We’re really good at those you know. Really, really good. In fact you wouldn’t believe how good we are at them.

          • Hammersteyn

            I watched one too many of Trumps speeches

          • PurplePariah

            To be honest, he’s become a worldwide internet and media meme. It’s astounding how Heretic isn’t aware of the references. Simply astounding.

          • Original Heretic

            I’m aware, but he’s such an important figure, I don’t want them to know I’m mocking him.
            Big Data is watching…

          • PurplePariah

            We’re not in America or any Muslim majority country. He doesn’t care about us. Go mad.

          • Original Heretic

            You think that’ll keep us safe? Next thing we know, ‘Merica is going to decide that SA needs freedom.

          • PurplePariah

            Trump wants to make America great again by building a wall around it and turning it into a giant prison where he’s the magnificent warden of the North. Truly Magnificent. That’ll be his official title. It’ll be great. Grand. Real special. Everything outside of United States of Trump will be just the “Not-Great Country”.

          • HvR

            Maybe if we still had gold in the mines left, but these days we have no reason to get some freedom

          • Hammersteyn

            Wait till we find oil on a farm near Upington

          • PurplePariah
          • Hammersteyn

            There’s way to many people mocking him. keeping track of it all would require a wall of servers stretching from Texas to California

          • Hammersteyn

            Mind blowing, I bet he doesn’t even have Twitter. Sad.

          • Original Heretic

            I don’t! Ha!! I avoid almost all forms of social media.
            hate the shit.

          • Hammersteyn

            Good, Facebook and Instagram sickens me. I still have Twitter but I hardly use it

          • he said on a discussion forum

          • Original Heretic
          • lol

          • Hammersteyn

            It’s magnificent, it’s great.

          • Original Heretic

            You’re going to become alternative? So you’re gonna become a drag queen? or will you go full transgender?

          • Hammersteyn

            no, I mean this XD

          • HvR

            Irony of it all, CNN ad tagline last year:
            “We do not let the facts cloud the truth”

          • Hammersteyn

            Very

        • Left4Dead
          • PurplePariah

            Oh god you’re going to summon the Dutch.

          • Dutch Matrix

            The what now?

          • PurplePariah

            Huh?

          • Dutch Matrix
          • PurplePariah

            No. Just. No.

  • Hammersteyn

    Yoh, Facebook is gonna really add a lot more ads to make of the loss

  • Fitting punishment for lying to us I would say. Now open up your stupid platform.

  • HvR

    Eina, somebody pass this on to Luckey, Palmer and Zuckerberg

    http://the.vaselinemethod.com/

  • VampyreSquirrel

    So Facebook technically bought Oculus for 2.5 billion? wait… no it’s $2.25 Billion

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