The verdict has come in between Oculus vs. ZeniMax over the technology used in the Rift VR headset. After a continuous deliberation between the two companies, the jury has awarded ZeniMax with $500 million from Oculus for mishandling the non-disclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey (Founder of Oculus) signed. However, the jury decided that Oculus did not mishandle trade secrets.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the court case:
ZeniMax previously employed the current Oculus CTO, John Carmack who is accused of stealing ZeniMax’s intellectual property when he left the company for Oculus back in 2013. He started to develop associations with Palmer Luckey on developing what is now known as the Oculus Rift. The trial began in January and has come to a decision today February 1, 2017. The case was first filed dating back to 2014.
Zenimax was seeking a $4 billion compensation from Facebook owned Oculus for not being compensated correctly. In the lawsuit, Zenimax claims that they should be rightfully paid for the Rift headset using their core IP technology. Zenimax is a giant media company heavily involved in the gaming industry. It owns subsidiaries such as Bethesda Softworks which has created many hit games like Fallout.
At the trial CEO of facebook, Mark Zuckerberg was in attendance to testify in the court case along with CEO of ZeniMax, Robert Altman. They both gave their stance on their awareness of Palmer Luckey and John Carmack. The Facebook team claimed that none of the code that was used in the Rift was from ZeniMax.
What this means for ZeniMax and Oculus:
With this decision, it’s apparent that ZeniMax will hold grounds that they were truly the founders of the Oculus Rift because of the technology that was supposedly borrowed from the company. Oculus will continue to hold grounds that none of ZeniMax’s code was used in their VR technology. But with ZeniMax being awarded a lump sum of payment , it’ll be hard for Oculus to hold ground on their original technology.
There will more than likely be an appeal from the Oculus team with the demands of handing over Zenimax $500 million. Expect this case to be dragged out for some time to come.