ZeniMax files for permanent injunction that could threaten Oculus Rift sales

ZeniMax pulled out a big victory in its lawsuit against Oculus VR earlier this month, winning a $500 million judgment over a broken non-disclosure agreement, copyright infringement, and false designation. The company said at the time that it would "consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropriated technology, including by seeking an injunction" against it. Yesterday, as reported by UploadVR, it took that step, filing for an injunction that could possibly halt sales of the Oculus Rift VR headset. 

The proposed final injunction would see Oculus "permanently enjoined, on a worldwide basis, from using, marketing, selling, distributing, modifying, servicing, copying, or offering for sale or license any products, in whole or in part, that utilize in any form or for any purpose any of the Copyrighted Materials." That would include the Oculus PC system software and SDK, the mobile system software and SDK, and Oculus integration with the Unreal and Unity game engines. 

So while the hardware could remain available for sale, the loss of the supporting software and integration with two of the industry's leading game engines would effectively cripple it. As Reuters pointed out, if the injunction is granted it will bring an "incredible amount of pressure on Facebook to enter into some sort of settlement." 

ZeniMax believes that's necessary because, as it noted in this filing, Facebook's pockets are so deep that a $500 million penalty isn't really corrective. "The jury's damage award here, however substantial, is an insufficient incentive for Defendants to cease infringing. Just minutes after the jury revealed its verdict, Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg, publicly stated that the jury's verdict of a half billion dollars was 'not material to [Facebook's] financials'," the document states. "In any event, the jury's damages award can do nothing to deter continued infringement of ZeniMax's intellectual property—only injunctive relief can do that."

In a statement reported by Gamasutra, Facebook said that it would continue to fight the verdict. "ZeniMax’s motion does not change the fact that the verdict was legally flawed and factually unwarranted," it said. "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." 

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.