A jury has found Facebook-owned virtual reality company, Oculus liable to pay half a billion dollars to ZeniMax-a game company- after Oculus CEO, Palmer Luckey failed to comply with a non-disclosure agreement.
ZeniMax filed a suit against Oculus in May 2014 after it was acquired by Facebook. The game maker alleged Oculus had improperly used code from ZeniMax to build its Rift VR headset.
The game-maker owns ID software, maker of Doom and Quake game franchises whose co-founder John Carmack is now chief technology officer of Oculus. According to the company, Luckey exchanged emails with Carmack who was still at ID software and developing a prototype of the company’s flagship headset.
Oculus plans to file an appeal for the decision.
The ruling came after Facebook announced a 51% jump in revenue reaching $8.81bn for the 4th quarter largely driven by its advertising business which accounted for 84% of the total revenue. This led to a doubling of profit to $3.57bn from an earlier $1.86bn the previous year
The company’s user base now stands at 1.86 billion users.
ZeniMax called for a larger award of $2bn in compensation and $2bn in damages. Oculus argued that the lawsuit was not driven by facts but by jealousy and anger.
Mark Zuckerberg testified during the proceedings labeling the plaintiffs as opportunists.
“It’s pretty common when you announce a big deal that people just come out of the woodwork and claim they own some part of the deal,” he said.
At the heart of the case was whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets. The jury ruled in favor of Oculus.
“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.” stated the company’s spokesperson.