The three-week trial finally ended today at a United States District court in the North District of Texas. After two and a half days of deliberation, the jury voted in favour of video game developer and publisher, ZeniMax Media. The company will now be awarded $500 million.
The case against the Oculus Rift developer and ZeniMax began two years ago when ZeniMax filled a lawsuit against Oculus for violating a NDA (Non-Disclosure-Agreement), claiming that Oculus CTO John Carmack and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey misappropriated trade secrets to work on the Oculus Rift. Oculus then claimed that ZeniMax was using the lawsuit to take advantage of Oculus’s acquisition by Facebook for $2 billion, while also claiming that the Oculus Rift did not share any similarities of any code or technology made by ZeniMax.
Essentially, Carmack owned id Software. id was bought out by ZeniMax while Carmack continued to work for id under ZeniMax. Luckey sent Carmack a prototype of the Rift after Carmack learned about it. Carmack then evaluated, analyzed and modified the prototype using research, software code and tools owned id Software which, once again, was now owned by ZeniMax. In 2012, Luckey signed the NDA with ZeniMax. When the Rift was unveiled at E3 2013, ZeniMax accused Luckey of breaching the NDA by using ZeniMax’s information and using it without permission.
While the jury said Oculus did not misappropriate trade secrets, Oculus will still have to pay out to ZeniMax. $200 million for breaking the NDA and $50 million for copyright infringement. Luckey and Oculus will also pay $50 million each for false designation and Brendan Iribe (CEO of Oculus) would also have to pay $150 million for false designation.
It’s currently unknown how the trial outcome will affect sales of the Oculus Rift.