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Oculus Told to Pay Half a Billion Dollars to ZeniMax in Huge Court Decision

Oculus has been charged with copyright infringement and breaking a non-disclosure agreement.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

Oculus has been ordered to pay half a billion dollars to ZeniMax following a lengthy court battle, with the virtual reality company’s co-founder Palmer Luckey having been accused of breaking a non-disclosure agreement and building the Rift VR headset based upon ZeniMax’s research.

ZeniMax previously sought a total of $4 billion — $2 billion in compensation and $2 billion in punitive damages — but Oculus was finally told to pay $500,000 this afternoon by the jury in Dallas, Texas. ZeniMax has accused Luckey and several other Oculus staff of developing the Rift based upon their research and code, an allegation which Oculus has denied. Oculus went on to be purchased by Facebook for $2 billion, with the social network’s CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg defending the VR company in court.

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The jury concluded that Oculus had not misappropriated trade secrets, ruling out ZeniMax’s accusation that Oculus had stolen the company’s ideas, but ordered that Oculus should pay out $200 million for breaking the NDA and $50 million for copyright infringement. Luckey will pay an additional $50 million for false designation, while fellow co-founder Brendan Iribe will pay $150 million.

Zuckerberg is set to make Facebook’s quarterly earnings call later today, with the company’s VR pursuits likely to be affected by this ruling. Facebook has invested heavily in Oculus’ vision, with the headset having finally made it to market last year. With court rulings still ongoing, there’s no word yet on whether or not this will impact upon the pricing of the headset or Oculus’ future projects.

Oculus’ attorney previously claimed that ZeniMax were looking for a “quick payout” with the lawsuit, adding that it was fuelled by “embarrassment, jealousy and anger.” In a statement released to Polygon, an Oculus spokesperson said that the company would appeal the ruling.