Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality unit could be in trouble again. ZeniMax Media has now asked a federal judge to block Oculus from using its code in its products. A few weeks ago, the video game publisher won a $500 million verdict against Oculus for copying computer code illegally.
A big blow to Facebook and Oculus?
In papers filed on Thursday in a Dallas federal court, ZeniMax has requested an injunction; if granted, it might impose limits on the number of games available for sale for Oculus’ Rift VR headset, according to Reuters. On February 1, the same court issued the verdict against Oculus and its founders, Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe.
The companies that develop games already have the disputed code with them, thanks to Oculus. Many of the games available for use on the Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR include the disputed code, according to Reuters. Gear VR, a smartphone-compatible device, was developed in partnership with Oculus.
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An Oculus spokeswoman told Reuters that the company will continue to ask the judge to set the verdict aside and referred to the claims as “legally flawed and factually unwarranted.” ZeniMax’s lawyers didn’t make any comments. An injunction would be a blow to the Oculus Rift headset, which is still in its infancy, and to Facebook, which is betting big on the technology.
The injunction, if granted, will lead to potential disruption and put an “incredible amount of pressure on Facebook to enter into some sort of settlement,” Mark Romeo, an intellectual property lawyer based in California, told Reuters.
About the case
The litigation owes its roots to Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey’s correspondence with video game designer John Carmack in 2012. Carmack, known for creating the Doom series, was employed by a subsidiary of Zenimax at that time. Carmack, who agreed to help develop software for the Rift, then left ZeniMax in 2013 and joined Oculus as its chief technology officer.
Earlier this month, Facebook, Oculus and other defendants were ordered by a Texas jury to pay $500 million to ZeniMax Media. The jury found Oculus executives guilty of violating a non-disclosure agreement when it was in its early days of building the Oculus Rift VR headset.
It got a clean chit in relation to ZeniMax’s another charge, in which it was accused of misappropriating trade secrets. The $500 million award included $200 million for the NDA violation, $50 million each against Oculus and co-founder Palmer Luckey for false designation, $50 million for copyright infringement and $150 million against former CEO Brendan Iribe for false designation, notes The Daily Mail.