Facebook's Oculus fights sales ban for virtual-reality headset
  • Facebook Inc. wants a federal judge to let it continue sales of its virtual-reality headsets even though a jury said the social-media giant’s Oculus unit stole another company’s computer code.ZeniMax Media Inc.’s request for a court order blocking sales of unspecified models of the Oculus Rift, which is priced at $600 with controllers, follows a $500 million verdict in February over claims that Oculus and some of its executives purloined proprietary information when they designed the headset prototype.Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion.
  • A sales ban would place an unfair hardship on Oculus and its business partners and customers, the company argued in a filing in Dallas federal court, where a hearing was held Tuesday on ZeniMax’s request for an injunction and Oculus’s bid to reduce the damages awarded at trial.It “would serve no one but ZeniMax, who would use it only as leverage to try to extract money from Oculus,” lawyers for Oculus said in the filing.
  • The company “would have to hire clean-room engineers to make myriad changes not just to the code fragments ZeniMax presented at trial, but to numerous other segments of interrelated and interdependent code,” according to the Oculus filing.
  • David Dobkin, a Princeton University computer science professor who testified as an expert witness for ZeniMax, told jurors during the January trial he found numerous examples of computer code containing ZeniMax trade secrets in then-current versions of Oculus software.Read More: Virtual Reality’s Boy Wonder Draws Fire at Facebook TrialThe trial turned on a non-disclosure agreement signed in 2012 by Oculus VR co-founder Palmer Luckey, a virtual reality hobbyist whose crude headset was developed into an early working prototype by John Carmack, then a star video-game programmer with ZeniMax.Luckey and Brendan Iribe formed Oculus shortly after Carmack demonstrated the device at a video gaming trade show.
  • The jury found that Carmack took property belonging to ZeniMax but didn’t order him to pay damages.Luckey left Oculus in March after Facebook began distancing itself from him following a report that he was financing a group creating anti-Hillary Clinton memes for the internet ahead of the U.S. presidential election.The case is ZeniMax Media Inc. v. Oculus VR Inc., 3:14-cv-01849, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

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