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US court halves $500 million verdict in Facebook's virtual reality lawsuit

Mark Zuckerberg wearing the Oculus virtual reality headset.
Glenn Chapman | Getty Images

A federal court in Dallas on Wednesday halved the $500 million verdict that a jury ordered Facebook, its virtual reality unit Oculus, and others to pay ZeniMax Media, a video game publisher that alleged Oculus stole its technology.

U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade also turned down ZeniMax's request for a ban on the sale or promotion of Oculus' products that ZeniMax alleged violated its copyrights.

The $250 million ordered against Oculus and its co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe to pay ZeniMax for false designation lacked sufficient evidence for damages, Judge Kinkeade said in his order.

Lawyers for Facebook and Zenimax were not immediately available for comment outside regular business.

ZeniMax sued Oculus in May 2014, alleging that trade secrets were stolen during development of a gaming headset by Oculus.

In February 2017, a U.S. jury in Dallas ordered Facebook, Oculus and other defendants to pay a combined $500 million to ZeniMax, after finding that Oculus used ZeniMax's computer code to launch the Rift virtual-reality headset.

The lawsuit was filed after Facebook bought Oculus for about $2 billion in 2014.

The case was in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division.

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Key Points
  • E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used form of tobacco among youth in the United States, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse.
  • A 2017 NIDA study found that 6.3 percent of 14-year-olds and 9.3 percent of 16-year-olds are vaping.
  • Now a new virtual reality game, called smokeSCREEN VR and backed by Facebook's Oculus, is addressing the challenges teens face when it comes to social pressures and the use of e-cigarettes.
  • If successful, the Yale Center for Health and Learning Games will create others, addressing topics such as obesity, teen pregnancy, alcohol use and suicide.