Facebook Loses Oculus VR Lawsuit
VR Gaming might stall as a result ~
Cliff George, 20 February 2017
Facebook has established themselves as one of the leading social media giants of the 21st century. Mark Zuckerberg and his team have made it a top priority to purchase other companies and make acquisitions in ways they see benefiting the overall success of their company. This business mentality has led them to make some historic purchases – such as Instagram and Whatsapp that were bought for $1 billion and $19 billion, respectively. However, one of Facebook’s more recent acquisitions involving Oculus VR got them into a sticky lawsuit.
Mark Zuckerberg made a clear indication of Facebook’s future direction with the purchase of Oculus VR in 2014 for $2 billion. The technology company is known for their creation of Oculus Rift, a high-tech Virtual Reality simulator. What Facebook saw as a worthwhile investment has turned out to be nothing more than a thorn in their side.
Just two months after purchasing the company, Facebook was being sued by past grievances that had been conducted by Oculus leaders. ZeniMax Media, another technology company, alleged that intellectual property was stolen by the Founder and CTO of Oculus in order to create their new headset. Palmer Luckey and John Carmack had denied these allegations in a two year dispute between the two media companies. As the current owners of Oculus, Facebook had to face the billion dollar lawsuit in court.
On the surface to many people this is just a bump in the road for Facebook. The website is the king of social media, as they rack in over 1.8 billion active users a month and another 1 billion on their Facebook Messenger application. For people in the technology industry or for those who follow it, this is a major story.
The exact charges against Oculus were violation of a non-disclosure agreement and the stealing of intellectual property that went into producing the new Oculus Rift
The exact charges against Oculus were violation of a non-disclosure agreement and the stealing of intellectual property that went into producing the new Oculus Rift. ZeniMax Media was seeking up to $6 billion in damages, however a majority of the claims were discarded by the jury.
Mark Zuckerberg himself was present at the trial for questioning. The Texas court eventually ruled in favor of ZeniMax’s claim and ordered Facebook to pay $500 million in damages. Although this is small damage relative to the original claim, the lawsuit still paints a bad image for Facebook’s owner. Zuckerberg has been accused of rushing the acquisition process and not recognizing the potential for a hefty trial.
When questioned about the trial, ZeniMax Media reported they were pleased with the final decision, yet would be open to further investigation to ensure that there were no future violations of their NDA. More specifically, there was a computer code, in the hands of Oculus and Facebook that was in violation of ZeniMax’s copyrights.
Facebook released a statement stating their discontent with the court’s decision. Furthermore, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced the company was looking into their options for appealing the verdict. Regardless, Facebook has made it clear that they will continue working hard to produce VR with the Oculus Technology. Their ultimate goal is to use this new technology to improve and deepen interaction between individuals.
Mark Zuckerberg is no stranger when it come to lawsuits. Despite losing this one against ZeniMax Media, it seems that Facebook has remained quite unaffected. Their stock is up 2 percent from their 2016 Q4 earnings report that was disclosed in the previous week.