Facebook CEO Due In Court To Defend Claims That Oculus Stole VR Tech

Facebook CEO Due In Court To Defend Claims That Oculus Stole VR Tech
Photo by Maurice Svay

Facebook believes virtual reality is the next big thing, but this promising field has dragged the company into legal trouble. Zenimax Media, owner of renowned game studio id Software, is suing the social-networking giant for $2 billion (£1.6 billion) for allegedly copying its design.

What Facebook has in its favor

Zenimax is accusing Oculus, which Facebook acquired in 2014, of unlawfully copying its early innovations in VR to build its own headset, the Rift. To defend his company, Zuckerberg is expected to appear in a Dallas court on Tuesday, says the BBC.

Zuckerberg will argue that by the time Zenimax could realize the potential of VR, Oculus had already taken the lead and turned it into the valuable technology it is today, says the BBC. A spokesman for Oculus told the network that the company is eager to present its case in court.

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“Oculus and its founders have invested a wealth of time and money in VR because we believe it can fundamentally transform the way people interact and communicate. We’re disappointed that another company is using wasteful litigation to attempt to take credit for technology that it did not have the vision, expertise, or patience to build,” the spokesman said.

What the dispute is about

The entire dispute is related to John Carmack, who gained popularity for designing legendary games such as Doom and Quake. He is also the co-founder of id Software, which is owned by Zenimax. Carmack worked for id for a short duration, but in November 2013, he left id to become chief technology officer at Oculus, notes the BBC.

In 2014, he told USA Today that after it became clear to him that he would not have the opportunity to do any work on VR while at id Software, he decided not to renew his contract. Carmack shared intellectual property with Oculus while he was still working with id Software, alleges Zenimax, adding that when he left the company, he took that work with him.

Zenimax and id Software said on Monday that they are happy to get an opportunity to present “substantial evidence” in the court which proves the defendants misappropriated their virtual reality intellectual property. Zenimax said the theft of trade secrets and highly confidential information, including computer code, is included in the evidence.

“ZeniMax will also present evidence of the Defendants’ intentional destruction of evidence to cover up their wrongdoing,” Zenimax said in a statement.

Former Oculus CEO Brenden Iribe is also named in the lawsuit.

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