ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Bethesda Softworks and id Software, has been awarded the sum in its case against Oculus. ZeniMax claim that VR technology was stolen and used to develop the Oculus Rift. Whilst it's hardly a paltry sum, it's a far cry from what they were originally seeking; $2 billion in damages and $4 billion in punitive damages.
Facebook was found not liable and Oculus are only responsible for half of the money owed. A big chunk is owed by two other defendants, both Oculus executives. Former Oculus CEO, Brendan Iribe, owes $150 million for trademark infringement and the founder of Oculus, Palmer Luckey, owes $50 million.
An ex-employee of id Software, and the work he carried out there before working for Oculus, was a key issue. ZeniMax believe the source code he had written whilst at id Software had been used to power Oculus Rift. Whilst the employee, John Carmack, admits to copying emails and source code, he claims he wrote new code when he moved to Oculus. He has been found not liable for any damages.
A spokesman for Oculus had this to say:
"The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax's trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor. 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. We look forward to filing our appeal and eventually putting this litigation behind us."
In a statement shared with GamesIndustry ZeniMax chairman and CEO Robert Altman said:
"We will consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropriated technology, including seeking an injunction to restrain Oculus and Facebook from their ongoing use of computer code that the jury found infringed ZeniMax's copyrights."
It sounds like ZeniMax may try to block sales of the Oculus Rift but there’s a chance that the two companies could attempt to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Oculus do plan to appeal so it's not over yet. We'll let you know how things turn out.