Will Facebook be forced into a settlement?
Zenimax, the video game publisher that is the parent company of developers Bethesda Softworks and id Software, is seeking an injunction to prevent Oculus VR from selling the Oculus Rift and all other products that contain copyrighted Zenimax code.
Zenimax filed its injunction request in the same federal court in Dallas that ordered Facebook-owned Oculus to pay $500 million early this month.
Oculus To Pay $500 Million To Zenimax
In early February, the jury of the case between the two companies awarded $500 million to Zenimax, which claims that Oculus stole its technology and used it for the development of the Oculus Rift.
The jury found that Palmer Luckey, the cofounder of Oculus, breached the terms of a non-disclosure agreement. The jury also ruled that Oculus was guilty on charges of copyright infringement and false designation with the Oculus Rift, as computer code used in the virtual reality headset was found to be directly infringing on Zenimax copyrights.
However, the jury did not find Oculus guilty on the claims by Zenimax that the company stole trade secrets that were utilized in Oculus Rift development.
The $500 million awarded to Zenimax was much lower than the amount of $6 billion that the company was originally seeking. The publisher also previously said that it might seek an injunction to halt sales of the Oculus Rift, with the company now following through with the plan.
Zenimax Wants To Halt Sales Of Oculus Rift
In its filed injunction, Zenimax is asking a federal judge to stop Oculus from using its copyrighted code in products that use them, which would halt the sales of the Oculus Rift and certain virtual reality games.
If the injunction is granted, the number of games that will be available to Oculus Rift owners will become limited. Oculus has already made the code involved in the dispute with Zenimax available to game developers as part of the Oculus Rift's software development kit. The code is also embedded in many of the current titles for both the Oculus Rift and Samsung's Gear VR, which is a smartphone-powered virtual reality headset that was developed in partnership with Oculus.
Will Facebook Be Forced To Settle With Zenimax?
Stopping sales for the Oculus Rift and taking down most of the titles available to the virtual reality headset will be a massive blow to Oculus and Facebook, especially considering how invested Facebook is in virtual reality as a major part of its future.
Intellectual property lawyer Mark Romeo said that the disruption that may be caused if the requested injunction by Zenimax is granted might place considerable pressure on Facebook for the company to reach a settlement with the video game publisher.
If the court, however, decides not to grant the requested injunction, Zenimax will instead seek for an ongoing royalty that would force Oculus to give up 20 percent of the revenue made from sales of products using Zenimax code for at least the next 10 years.
Zenimax is likely pursuing the case with Oculus so aggressively because the $500 million charge given to Oculus might be too small to actually be felt as a penalty by Facebook.