Today was a rough day for Oculus, as a Texas jury awarded ZeniMax (the parent company of Bethesda Softworks) $500 million dollars. This was due to Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey failing to comply with a non-disclosure agreement he signed with ZeniMax. It wasn’t all bad, however, as Oculus was found not-guilty of stealing trade secrets from ZeniMax.
Here’s how the $500 million is split up:
- Oculus has to pay $200 million for breaking the non-disclosure agreement that Luckey signed, and $50 million for copyright infringement.
- Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe has to pay $150 million for false designation.
- Oculus and Luckey have to pay $50 million each for false designation.
As expected, Oculus is planning to appeal the decision. They put a positive spin on the case, as they were found not-guilty on the main matter of stealing trade secrets. “The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor,” said an Oculus spokesperson to Polygon. “We’re obviously disappointed by a few other aspects of today’s verdict, but we are undeterred. Oculus products are built with Oculus technology.”
This case is far from over on both sides, as ZeniMax is also looking into getting an injunction to stop the sale of the Oculus Rift. 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 misappropriated 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.”
Even more details on the case can be found over at Polygon (who has done a great job covering the story), including some wild testimony from id Software co-founder and Oculus CTO John Carmack. Carmack, a legend in the gaming community, admitted to copying thousands of files when he left the company, including the source code for Rage.