ZeniMax wins $500 million from Oculus in IP lawsuit


— 5:03 PM on February 1, 2017

While the lawsuit between ZeniMax and Oculus isn't over, the jury for the case has made decisions on a couple significant aspects of the suit. The court has awarded ZeniMax $500 million in damages over its allegations.

TechCrunch's man on the ground broke down the verdict. The jury awarded ZeniMax $200 million for its finding that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey violated a non-disclosure agreement he'd signed with the publisher. It awarded another $50 million for copyright infringement. Luckey will owe a further $50 million, and co-founder Brendan Iribe, another $150 million for false designation of origin. The jury was not convinced that now-Oculus CTO John Carmack misappropriated trade secrets when he left ZeniMax to join Oculus.

The lawsuit has been proceeding since the spring of 2014, when ZeniMax first filed suit shortly after Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus. Oculus claimed it had no ZeniMax IP in its gear. Oculus called the suit wasteful just last month, but it seems the jury mostly disagreed.

Regarding the ruling, Oculus issued a statement to Game Informer that it's "disappointed by a few aspects of today's verdict," but "are undeterred." The company also said in the statement that it plans to file an appeal on the decision rendered. ZeniMax said in a statment that it's pleased with the result, and added that "the jury upheld our complaint regarding the theft by John Carmack of RAGE source code and thousands of electronic files on a USB storage drive which contained ZeniMax VR technology."

ZeniMax may still seek to halt sales of the Oculus Rift headset despite the partial ruling in Oculus' favor. A ZeniMax spokesperson told Polygon that the company "will consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropraited 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."

As GameInformer notes, there are other questions still up for debate in the suit, and the jury award could still get closer to ZeniMax's initial $6 billion claim. If ZeniMax is successful in securing an injunction against Oculus' continued sales of the Rift headset, it would be another black eye for the still-young VR company. Given its deep-pocketed parent, however, Oculus can probably weather any storms that come its way.

Tip: You can use the A/Z keys to walk threads.
View options