Facebook has to pay ZeniMax $500 million - Oculus Rift trial
Facebook has to pay ZeniMax $500 million - Oculus Rift trial. Image: Fast Company.

The ZeniMax vs. Oculus trial is over, and the VR firm owned by Facebook has lost the case. The company has to pay $500 million in compensation and damages, a Dallas, Texas jury ruled on Wednesday after two days of deliberating.

ZeniMax initially filed suit against the creators of the Oculus Rift back in 2014, just after the social giant acquired them for $2 billion.

$2 billion was also the original sum that the plaintiffs were seeking to get from the trial, only to have lawyer Anthony Sammi add another $2 billion on top of that last Friday in his closing arguments.

The judge found Oculus executives not guilty of stealing trade secrets or misappropriating intellectual property as originally alleged by the rival studio.

Zenimax CEO Robert Altman
Zenimax CEO Robert Altman in the middle. Image: Zimbio.

Who is guilty of what?

Oculus VR and game developer Palmer Luckey were sued on seven counts but found liable for only three of them on Wednesday afternoon.

Out of the $4 billion requested by ZeniMax, the headset makers will have to pay $200 million for violating a non-disclosure agreement signed when Palmer Luckey and id Software’s John Carmack first started working together.

The Facebook-owned company must pay an additional $100 million split by half on counts of copyright infringement and false designation. Palmer Luckey owes ZeniMax $50 million more out of pocket while former CEO Brendan Iribe has to write a $150 million check.

The four counts left unresolved include the leading argument against Oculus VR, misappropriation of trade secrets. The studio also alleged the rival company was guilty of unfair competition, unjust enrichment, and trademark infringement.

What’s next for Oculus and ZeniMax?

Facebook’s Oculus plans to appeal the decision, most likely to save face given that $500 million is not that much for a firm that is worth billions of dollars.

“THE HEART OF THIS CASE WAS ABOUT WHETHER OCULUS STOLE ZENIMAX’S TRADE SECRETS, AND THE JURY FOUND DECISIVELY IN OUR FAVOR,” a Facebook spokesman said.

ZeniMax, on the other hand, told Polygon they might seek an injunction to halt sales of the Oculus Rift headset in light of the trial’s results. Company execs were pleased with the verdict, although it represents only an eighth of the amount they requested be awarded on Friday.

“WE APPRECIATE THE JURY’S FINDING AGAINST THE DEFENDANTS, AND THE AWARD OF HALF A BILLION DOLLARS IN DAMAGES FOR THOSE SERIOUS VIOLATIONS,” said CEO Robert Altman.

ZeniMax Media Inc. is a video game conglomerate worth billions, housing studios like Bethesda Softworks, id Software, and Arkane Studios, responsible for creating games like the Fallout series, The Elder Scrolls saga, and Doom.

Source: Polygon

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