Oculus Looking To Replay Trial Against Zenimax

Oculus Looking To Replay Trial Against Zenimax
April 17, 2017
Oculus wants new trial against Zenimax over VR intellectual property.


Virtual reality outfit Oculus is looking to replay its trial against Zenimax, owner of Bethesda, by claiming that "the verdict is against the great weight of the evidence, [and] the damages award is excessive".


That is according to a report by UploadVR.com and comes after Facebook itself said that it would not let the decision rest.


According to the report, Facebook, Oculus, Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe, and former Zenimax employee John Carmack have filed for a partial re-trial of the case in the US District Court in Dallas.


The group filed for a re-trial "because the verdict is against the great weight of the evidence, the damages award is excessive, the verdict is based on unreliable and prejudicial expert testimony", according to the latest filing.


A subsequent filing also claimed that Zenimax's claims were unenforceable due to the company's delay in making them. That's unlikely to have much traction, however, as there is no statute of limitations on intellectual property claims.


Zenimax, for its part, has threatened to take out an injunction against Facebook and Oculus, which could stymy plans to fully commercialise the technology and to take on rivals such as the HTC Vive, which is the current market leader thanks to its link-up with Valve Software and its Steam PC games retail subsidiary.


Facebook acquired Oculus for $2bn in 2014. A start-up company, it had been funded from private contributions via the crowdfunding website Kickstarter just two years earlier. While the crowd funders received Oculus headsets when they finally came out, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was made an instant billionaire.


However, Zenimax claimed that much of the crucial technology behind the Oculus VR headset had been developed by noted games developer John Carmack when he was employed by Zenimax and that it, therefore, was the ultimate owner of the intellectual property behind the Oculus headset.


Furthermore, Zenimax claimed it had plenty of evidence, too: "Carmack secretly and illegally copied thousands of documents containing Zenimax's intellectual property from his computer at Zenimax to a USB storage device, which he wrongfully took with him to Oculus," the company claimed when it sued Oculus.


The court agreed and handed a $500m bill to Facebook to cover "unlawful infringement of Zenimax "copyrights and trademarks".  

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