Judge cuts $500 million award in ZeniMax's lawsuit against Oculus in half

The $500 million that was awarded to ZeniMax in its lawsuit against Oculus VR has been cut in half after the judge on the case determined that there was insufficient evidence to support the damages awarded for false designation. As reported by VentureBeat, the judge also refused ZeniMax's request to ban the sale of Oculus products that it claims are in violation of its copyrights. 

ZeniMax sued Oculus in 2014, alleging that technology used in the Oculus Rift headset was developed by John Carmack while he was still with id Software, which is owned by ZeniMax. After a couple of years of wrangling, a jury found in favor of ZeniMax: Oculus was ordered to pay $200 million for breaking the NDA that co-founder Palmer Luckey signed with ZeniMax in 2013 prior to working with the company on an early iteration of the Rift headset; $50 million for copyright infringement; and $50 million for false designation. 

Oculus VR co-founder Brendan Iribe was also ordered to pay $150 million for false designation, while Luckey was held liable for $50 million for the same reason. Those awards, and the false designation finding against Oculus VR, were rejected by the judge.

ZeniMax expressed disappointed that the award was reduced, but indicated in a statement to Bloomberg that it remains pleased with the win overall. "Based on a strong evidentiary record, the jury in this case found that ZeniMax was seriously harmed by the defendants’ theft of ZeniMax’s breakthrough VR technology and its verdict reflected that harm," it said. 

Oculus, on the other hand, suggested that it's not prepared to give up the fight just yet. "We’ve said from day one the ZeniMax case is deeply flawed, and today the court agreed. Today’s ruling slashed the verdict in half, granted our motion for sanctions, and fully denied ZeniMax’s attempt to stop us from selling and marketing our products," Paul Grewal, vice-president & deputy general counsel of Oculus parent Facebook, said in a statement. 

"This was a positive step toward a fair resolution, and we will be appealing the remaining claims.  Our commitment to Oculus is unwavering and we will continue to invest in building the future of VR." 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.