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Facebook settles virtual reality lawsuit with ZeniMax over alleged theft of company secrets

Key Points
  • Facebook and ZeniMax have settled a lawsuit regarding the theft of the video game company's code and information that was used to develop Oculus products.
  • A jury originally awarded ZeniMax $500 million, but Facebook appealed.
  • The companies did not disclose the amount of the settlement.
Mark Zuckerberg delivers a keynote at Facebook's Oculus Connect 5 event in San Jose, California, on September 26, 2018. 
Screenshot


Facebook and video game company ZeniMax have settled a lawsuit that claimed Facebook stole ZeniMax company secrets and technology for Facebook's Oculus virtual reality products.

"We are pleased that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome," ZeniMax chairman and CEO Robert Altman said in a statement. "While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties."

The terms of the settlement, which was reached on Wednesday, were not disclosed. 

"We're pleased to put this behind us and continue building the future of VR," a Facebook spokesperson said. 

ZeniMax claimed Oculus founder Palmer Luckey took its computer code and proprietary information to develop Oculus products. It also said Oculus' chief technology officer John Carmack used his experience and knowledge from being a ZeniMax employee to improve the Oculus Rift VR headset.

ZeniMax owns game developers id Software (developer of "Doom," "Quake"), MachineGames (developer of "Wolfenstein: The New Order"), Bethesda Softworks and Bethesda Game Studios ("The Elder Scrolls," "Fallout," "Skyrim"), and ZeniMax Online Studios ("The Elder Scrolls Online"), among others.

A jury found Oculus guilty of copyright infringement, failure to comply with a nondisclosure agreement and misuse of Oculus trademarks ( "false designation") in February 2017. It awarded ZeniMax $500 million. However, a district court in Dallas reduced the verdict to $250 million last June. The settlement announced Wednesday came after both sides appealed the last verdict.

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