Zenimax Seeks To Block Sales Of Oculus Rift, Gear VR

Most anyone would be ecstatic if they were on the receiving end of a $500 million judgment, but evidently, cash isn’t enough for Zenimax. Reuters reported that ZeniMax is seeking to block sales of all products that rely on ZeniMax’s code. The company filed for a permanent injunction against Oculus in the same court that presided over the lawsuit.

If granted, the injunction against Oculus would put a stop to sales of the Oculus Rift VR HMD and Samsung’s Gear VR. ZeniMax purports that Oculus distributed the code in question to developers, too, which could put some VR games at risk.

At the beginning of February, the first major battle between ZeniMax and Oculus came to a bitter end. In 2014, shortly after Facebook acquired Oculus, ZeniMax famously filed a lawsuit against Oculus and its parent company. ZeniMax argued that Oculus had misappropriated trade secrets regarding VR technology and breached a non-disclosure agreement.

After three years of waiting, the trial between the two companies began in January, and it didn’t go well for Oculus. After three weeks of arguments, the jury deliberated throughout the final weekend of January and delivered a severe blow to Oculus on February 1.

The Jury cleared Oculus of the misappropriation charges but sided with ZeniMax over the non-disclosure agreement. The courts awarded ZeniMax $500 million and ordered Oculus to pay $300 million of that. The rest of the funds will come from the pockets of Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe.

Days after the judgment, John Carmack responded to the situation with a post on his Facebook page in which he expressed his displeasure with the outcome. He argued that the methods used by ZeniMax’s expert were questionable, and he insinuated that the prosecution used vague terms to help sway the narrative.

Oculus, of course, isn’t satisfied with the outcome and intends to continue fighting the judgment. Following the court's ruling, Oculus said it would file an appeal.

We reached out to ZeniMax for a comment but have yet to receive a response. We also spoke with Oculus, which had this to say about the situation:

ZeniMax’s motion does not change the fact that the verdict was legally flawed and factually unwarranted. We look forward to filing our own motion to set aside the jury’s verdict and, if necessary, filing an appeal that will allow us to put this litigation behind us.

Evidently, Oculus isn’t ready to go down without a fight, but there's more at stake here for the VR industry in general; the loss of a major player this early could be a major setback for the entire market.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years. 

  • hekynn
    Ok Zenimax can go shoot themselves in the foot and shut their stuff down that includes eso etc their nothing but a bunch of GREEDY TRUMPS IN THEIR!
  • xjumpmanx
    As an owner of Oculus rift we should get together and sue Zenimax for the price of our units.
  • StonedGamer
    The public hatred towards Zenimax is reminiscent of Metallica vs. Napster days. We have a quality developer that has no trouble making bank, but they just want to make life harder for everyone else. On the one hand you can't blame them for wanting to protect their intellectual property, on the other, they're dragging their own public approval rating through the dirt!
  • cryoburner
    19342297 said:
    As an owner of Oculus rift we should get together and sue Zenimax for the price of our units.

    That's not how things work. At least according to the court judgement, Zenimax is the victim here, and Oculus are the ones who broke the terms of their agreement. In the unlikely event that Oculus would discontinue support for their products as a result of this, they would be the ones at fault, and you would need to sue Oculus and Facebook, not Zenimax. Of course, that all seems fairly unlikely to happen.
  • dark_lord69
    "The public hatred towards Zenimax is reminiscent of Metallica vs. Napster days. "
    I was thinking the same thing!

    "they're dragging their own public approval rating through the dirt!"
    I agree.. And I believe what Carmack said about methods used to skew perception of the court using vague terms and generalization.

    I loved Quake and many id software games but this just leaves a metallic taste in my mouth!! ;D
  • bloodroses
    Oculus (Facebook) stole an idea/code from someone else? Nooo, that can't be... *sarcasm*
    Do things legally and you wan't have to worry about the courts.

    Anyways, if you read this article, it looks like Oculus got the better deal out of the decision than Zenimax did:

    I do not blame Zenimax one bit to continue the fight.
  • bigdragon
    My takeaway from this article is that Zenimax is willing to destroy the VR industry through their temper tantrum over losing Carmack and playing too conservatively on VR tech. Zenimax could have been Oculus, but they didn't throw the resources behind Carmack's VR efforts nor compensate him to the point to where he'd stay with Zenimax. They have only themselves to blame. If Zenimax keeps pushing this then they're going to scare away other developers and OEMs, increase costs for everyone, and stifle innovation.
  • Jeff Fx
    19342297 said:
    As an owner of Oculus rift we should get together and sue Zenimax for the price of our units.

    Oculus would be the only party that you could win a suit against. When a company sells you something they didn't own, the actual owner is not responsible in any way.
  • jspreet
    Its real simple. Zenimax wants to act like a bunch of cry babies and act all butt hurt because they did want to invest the money in vr and would rather capitalize on someone elses hard work then I just wont support them by buying their products anymore. Unfortunately that means Bethesda's and Id's products. They piss enough people off they will lose more money then they will make off this deal. Zenimax get over yourself's bunch off cry asses.
  • computerguy72
    Zenimax should be destroyed over this. I'm not an Oculus fan but that doesn't matter here. Zenimax is in effect suing over ideas they did not plan to use in any way and in fact didn't know existed. They claim that off-hire work-product by an employee (Carmack) is owned by the company and picked the northern district of Texas to take this case... This is a jury verdict they could not have gotten any where else. Imagine you had an idea in the middle of the night while working for McDonalds making burgers for an improvement to a computer mouse. You sketch that down at home and magic happens - a large company buys your idea. McDonalds then sues saying they not only do they own your invention but that entire company who bought your idea cannot sell mice. You see the problem with this??? In my opinion it's only a trade secret if you plan to use it in your trade.