Court Rules Facebook Can Continue Selling Oculus Rifts, Cuts Zenimax Damages in Half

By Tom Pritchard on at

Last year Zenimax successfully sued Oculus and parent company Facebook over copyright infringement, after alleging that the Oculus Rift was based on stolen intellectual property. Despite the win, and being awarded $500 million in damages, Zenimax still tried to have the Oculus Rift pulled from sale. That decision kind of just blew up in their face.

Oculus had, naturally, appealed the damages and sale ban request, and won. Sort of. US District Judge Ed Kinkeade refused Zenimax's request, meaning both Facebook and Oculus can continue to develop and sell Rift headsets. In a blow to the video game publisher, Kinkeade also halved the amount of money Facebook owed Zenimax in damages, ruling the company should only have to pay $250 million. That's $200 million for breach of contract and $50 million copyright infringement, plus an extra $54 million in interest.

On top of that the judge threw out a portion of the case that had found Oculus co-founders Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe guilty of “false designation of origin”. This meant, according to the courts, Luckey and Iribe had supposedly tricked the public by marketing Zenimax VR headsets as their own. It was thrown out due to lack of evidence, and meant both co-founders won't need to fork out damages from their own personal bank accounts.

ZeniMax said in a statement:

“Based on a strong evidentiary record, the jury in this case found that ZeniMax's breakthrough VR technology and its verdict reflected that harm, and expressed disappointment that the damages had been reduced."

Meanwhile Facebook told Bloomberg that the ruling “was a positive step toward a fair resolution, and we will be appealing the remaining claims.” That last bit is pretty obvious, and no doubt Zenimax will try to do what it can to appeal the appeal. Though that doesn't seem to be a thing in the US. Whatever happens this case is far from over, and we'll bring you more news when we have it. For now, though, Facebook is free to release a next-gen Oculus Rift any day now (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). [Bloomberg via TechRadar]