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Verdict: Zenimax Awarded $500 Million Judgement in Oculus VR Lawsuit

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The verdict’s finally in. A Dallas, Texas jury awarded half a billion dollars to ZeniMax Wednesday after finding that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, and by extension Oculus, violated the terms of a non-disclosure agreement in the early days of developing the Rift VR headset.

The jury also found Oculus guilty on charges related to false designation and copyright infringement, but notably did not find Oculus guilty of charges related to claims by ZeniMax that the company had stolen trade secrets to create the Rift headset.

Luckey will personally have to pay $50 million in the suit, while former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe will be responsible in paying $150 million. Both Luckey and id Software co-founder John Carmack were in the courtroom when the verdict was read according to Polygon.

In January, Oculus Luckey took the stand to deny the claim. But with the latest jury verdict coming out in favor of Zenimax, this does put a blemish on the leading VR company that helped reinvigorate interest in VR within the tech industry. Facebook bought the company for as much as $3 billion in 2014.

However, given that ZeniMax was seeking $4 billion in the case, this isn’t the worst possible outcome for Facebook. It still remains unclear if this verdict will impact retail sales or marketing of the Rift. It has appeared that Oculus has throttled back marketing efforts lately, most notably being absent from CES. There is also a looming possibility of an injunction to halt sales of the current Rift as well. But for now it looks like $500 million may be a slap on the wrist for Oculus, especially considering the amount of resources they have been investing in this future virtual world we will all live in.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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