Oculus Motions For New Trial In $500 Million ZeniMax Case

by Jamie Feltham • April 11th, 2017

Two months on from the conclusion of the trial of ZeniMax Media vs Facebook’s Oculus, and the latter company is making good on its promise to not let the decision rest.

ZeniMax and Facebook’s Oculus faced a jury earlier in 2017 after years of filings and motions in which the former company accused the VR specialist of theft and using its own resources to build the Oculus Rift headset. ZeniMax claimed former employee John Carmack had given Oculus access to confidential resources when working on the Rift in its early days. The case hasn’t gone well for Oculus; while cleared of some claims by ZeniMax, back in February a jury decided Oculus and co-founders Brendan Iribe and the now-departed Palmer Luckey owed ZeniMax $500 million. Now, Oculus is pushing for a new trial (PDF).

The Facebook subsidiary last Friday¬†filled a motion for a new trial. The document notes that the result first given against Oculus, Luckey and Iribe was “against the great weight of the evidence” and that “spoliation testimony and adverse inference instruction tainted the jury.”

It also labels the damages owed as “excessive” and the jury’s verdict as “irreconcilably inconsistent”. Carmack himself made similar claims the day after the ruling, stating the internet would have “viciously mocked” the outcome.

In the original trial the defendants were accused of a breach of a nondisclosure agreement. According to¬†Law 360, another new motion states ZeniMax’s claims are unenforceable due to the company’s delay in making them. ZeniMax’s first complaint surfaced after Oculus was acquired by Facebook for what’s now thought to be around $3 billion back in 2014.

Since the ruling Rift creator Palmer Luckey has left Facebook for unknown reasons, though a new trial could see him temporarily rejoin his former colleagues. Carmack also hit back with his own $22.5 million lawsuit. ZeniMax, meanwhile, has threatened an injunction against Oculus.

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  • Bundy

    And round and round the merry-go-round goes.

  • NooYawker

    Patent and intellectual property laws need serious reform.

  • Sven Viking

    Just mentioning that Carmack said the Internet would have viciously mocked the source code analysis presented as evidence had it been made public, not “the outcome”.

  • We get it Oculus, you guys pushed out a second place Frankenstein product and you had to turf Palmer Luckey, professional d-bag, who turned into a PR nightmare for you. I guess you desperately need a win somewhere and I guess the best chance you have at it is in court. Would have preferred if you worked harder on launching a complete/finished product and treating your customers with a bit of respect. Oh well, one can always wish.

    • SandmaN

      While I agree with the fact that Luckey turned into a PR nightmare for them, the Rift is far from a ‘second place Frankenstein product’. The Vive definitely has a much more open space for developers, however Oculus has an incredibly solid headset, Touch controllers (finally), and roomscale works extremely well (finally!) even with just 2 cameras. Also they have some incredible games and experiences, however many of those incredible games (The Unspoken, Robo Recall, Dead and Buried, Chronos, Edge of Nowhere, Rock Band VR, etc.) are ‘Oculus exclusives’ which is the problem I have with them. They need to allow their publishers to work on any platform available and not lock their games to only the Rift. At least we have ReVive, but that comes with it’s own set of unique issues. They still have a number of issues to overcome, but it looks like they’re committed to working with the VR industry and are actively working with everyone on open standards as well.