The VR lawsuit between Facebook and ZeniMax is finally over

The long-running lawsuit between Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax Media and Facebook over the VR technology developed for the Oculus Rift is finally over, as ZeniMax announced today that the companies have reached a settlement to end the litigation. 

The suit began in 2014, when ZeniMax sued Oculus VR over allegations that it had misappropriated ZeniMax trade secrets—specifically, that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey had only been able to transform his "crude prototype" into a viable VR headset because of the expertise and technology developed by John Carmack, who was at the time still with ZeniMax-owned id Software. Facebook got involved a couple of months after the suit was filed when it announced that it had acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion. 

A jury sided with ZeniMax in 2017 and awarded it $500 million, but that amount was later cut in half by a judge, who also rejected ZeniMax's request for an injunction against the sale of relevant Oculus hardware. Both companies had appealed the case to the US  Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, but reached the settlement while the appeal was pending. 

"We are pleased that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome," ZeniMax chairman and CEO Robert Altman said in a statement. "While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties." 

"We’re pleased to put this behind us and continue building the future of VR," Facebook said in its own separate statement.

The terms of the settlement are confidential.   

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.