A US court has ruled in favour of video game developer Zenimax in their lawsuit against Facebook’s virtual reality division, Oculus. The court has ordered the social networking giant to pay $500 million to Zenimax, this according to a report in BBC. The jury found that Oculus, a company which Facebook bought in 2014 for $2 billion, had breached a contract with video game developer Zenimax when launching its own VR headset.
ZeniMax claims to have been responsible for integral breakthroughs in software and hardware development for the headset, only to see one of their employees take their intellectual property and partner up with two other entrepreneurs to form Oculus VR.
The defection of the video game programmer John Carmack was the central element to ZeniMax’s case, Carmack acknowledged in his testimony that he had taken e-mail records with him that included computer code relating to VR technology.
At the end of proceedings, the court ordered Oculus to pay $200m for violating a nondisclosure agreement and $50m for copyright infringement and another $50m for improper use of ZeniMax’s trademarks.
In addition, the court also ordered Brendan Iribe and Palmer Luckey, Oculus co-founders, to pay $150m and $50m respectively. Carmack was not ordered to pay damages despite being found guilty of taking property belonging to ZeniMax.
Tera Randall, an Oculus spokeswoman said “The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favour,” she then reaffirmed their position, stating that “We’re obviously disappointed by a few other aspects of today’s verdict, but we are undeterred. Oculus products are built with Oculus technology.”
According to ZeniMax they do regret having to go to court, “it was necessary to take a stand against companies that engage in illegal activity in their desire to get control of new, valuable technology”.
With Facebook said to be considering an appeal, this may not be the end of this matter.