Following the lawsuit that ZeniMax filed against Oculus and Facebook for allegedly stealing VR technology created by the company, Oculus has been ordered to pay ZeniMax a sum of $500 million for several violations.
Oculus was found guilty of breaking a non-disclosure agreement that was held with ZeniMax, as well as copyright infringement. Oculus must pay $200 million for breaking the NDA, $50 million for copyright infringement and an extra $50 million for false designation. Company co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe will also need to pay a fee of their own money for the same charge, with Luckey owing $50 million and Iribe owe $150 million.
ZeniMax initially asked for $2 billion in compensation, as well as an additional $4 billion to cover punitive damages, but the jury decided against the full reward. The jury believed that Oculus was guilty of a number of offences, but did not misappropriate trade secrets, which was one of ZeniMax’s most damning claims.
The testimony provided by Iribe claimed that ZeniMax was using almost bully-like tactics to try and gain a partnership deal with Oculus. ZeniMax apparently threatened to prevent John Carmack from contributing any further assistance towards the Rifts development unless ZeniMax was granted a 15% equity interest in Oculus. Because of this, talks between Oculus and ZeniMax had broken down.
Despite being relatively let off easy ($500 million is a lot of money, but at least it’s not $6 billion), Oculus claims that they will be appealing the decision, but want to put the whole case behind them. ZeniMax have told Polygon that in light of this decision they may seek to put an injunction in place to stop the sale of Oculus Rift VR headsets.