Oculus loses court case, must pay Zenimax $500m

Oculus has been ordered to pay $500m (£395m) after it was ruled that it had unlawfully used Zenimax’s code.

A US court determined that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey didn’t comply with a non-disclosure agreement with the game publisher. However, it also found that the Facebook-owned VR-maker did not steal trade secrets from Zenimax when it hired John Carmack – one of the main points of the court case.

As a result of the verdict, Zenimax will receive only a fraction of the $4 billion that it was suing for. This comes a couple of weeks after Luckey testified in court that he "didn’t take confidential code for Oculus", and Oculus maintained its innocence throughout the entirety of the case. 

The case was built around accusations from Zenimax that Oculus stole its early innovations in virtual reality to create its own headset – the Rift – and pointed to Palmer Luckey’s lack of formal education as an indicator that he would not have been capable of creating such advanced tech. Facebook argued that Luckey was enthusastic about building technology from a young age as a hobbyist which more than made up for his lack of college degree.

Oculus said it was "disappointed" with the verdict, and that it intends to appeal against the ruling. 

Zenimax chief executive Robert Altman.: "We are pleased that the jury in our case in the US District Court in Dallas has awarded Zenimax $500m for defendants’ unlawful infringement of our copyrights and trademarks."

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