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.