Facebook’s VR business Oculus has been ordered by a court to pay $500 million (€462.4m) to video game maker ZeniMax. The verdict, in a Texas district court, ruled that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey had failed to comply with a non-disclosure agreement signed with ZeniMax in 2012. Nonetheless, the jury decided that Oculus had not misappropriated trade secrets.
Oculus was ordered to pay $200 million for breaking the NDA and $50 million for copyright infringement. Oculus and Luckey were ordered to pay $50 million each for ‘false designation,’ while Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe is to pay $150 million on the same basis.
According to Reuters, the NDA that Luckey broke was signed in 2012 with John Carmack – a games programmer who co-founded ZeniMax-owned id Software, where he worked on hot games like Doom and Quake. Carmack left id Software to join Oculus as CTO in 2013 – a year before Facebook bought it for $2.3 billion.
Facebook said that it was disappointed by the ruling, but claimed it remained committed to the long-term success of VR. It said it would file an appeal.
The verdict came as Facebook reported that its fourth quarter profits had more than doubled year-on-year to $3.6bn. Revenues for Q4 2016 were up 51 per cent year-on-year to $8.8 billion.
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