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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