Facebook has been fighting a legal battle with its Oculus arm against ZeniMax for a while now. In February 2017, Facebook’s Oculus was ordered to pay ZeniMax $500 million for patent infringement. With that sort of money on the line, Facebook and Oculus appealed the decision. A new ruling in the case has been handed down and Facebook came out on top this time.
The ruling sees the $500 million award given to ZeniMax halved to $250 million. U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade in Dallas, TX also rejected a request by ZeniMax that sales of Oculus VR headsets be banned in the U.S. The ZeniMax and Oculus legal drama started way back in 2014 shortly after Facebook acquired the Oculus. ZeniMax at the time was seeking $2 billion, claiming that it was behind key breakthroughs in software and hardware used in the Oculus headset.
The original claim was that John Carmack and two other men stole ZeniMax IP and used it as the basis for their startup. Judge Kinkeade upheld the 2017 ruling that awarded ZeniMax $200 million for breach of contract and $50 million for copyright infringement. The $250 million that the judge wiped out included damages that Oculus co-founders Brendan Iribe and Palmer Luckey were supposed to pay.
ZeniMax’s legal team argued for the ban on Oculus sales because they alleged that Oculus continued to infringe on its copyrights and a permanent sales injunction was the only way to stop that infringement. Oculus claimed that the sales ban would place an unfair hardship on the company and the judge agreed. Oculus still maintains that the copyright infringement it committed wasn’t “substantial” since out of the 42 billion lines of code produced as evidence in the case, only seven were copied verbatim from ZeniMax. ZeniMax is currently pursuing a similar suit against Samsung over the Gear VR headset.