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ZeniMax may seek court order to halt sale of current Oculus Rift headsets

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Fresh off a half billion dollar award in its lawsuit against Oculus, ZeniMax tells Polygon that it may seek an injunction to temporarily stop the sale of Oculus Rift headsets.

“We will consider what further steps we need to take to ensure there will be no ongoing use of our misappropriated technology,” a ZeniMax spokesperson said, “including by seeking an injunction to restrain Oculus and Facebook from their ongoing use of computer code that the jury found infringed ZeniMax’s copyrights.”

That code formed the basis of the Oculus Rift’s software.

Earlier today, a jury in a U.S. District Court in Dallas awarded ZeniMax $500 million for Oculus’ infringement of copyrights and trademarks and for violating a non-disclosure agreement.

While not awarding any money on this count, the jury also found that id Software co-founder and current Oculus CTO John Carmack took Rage source code and thousands of electronic files on a USB storage device which contained ZeniMax VR technology when he left the company.

“While we regret we had to litigate in order to vindicate our rights, it was necessary to take a stand against companies that engage in illegal activity in their desire to get control of new, valuable technology,” according to a ZeniMax spokesperson.

We’ve asked Oculus for comment on the potential impact the decision might have on the sale of the Oculus Rift, but the company has not responded.

They did say, however, that they were planning to appeal the case.

In commenting on the case, ZeniMax also walked through why it believes it won the judgement.

The liability of Defendants was established by uncontradicted evidence presented by ZeniMax, including (i) the breakthrough in VR technology occurred in March 2012 at id Software through the research efforts of our former employee John Carmack (work that ZeniMax owns) before we ever had contact with the other defendants; (ii) we shared this VR technology with the defendants under a non-disclosure agreement that expressly stated all the technology was owned by ZeniMax; (iii) the four founders of Oculus had no expertise or even backgrounds in VR—other than Palmer Luckey who could not code the software that was the key to solving the issues of VR; (iv) there was a documented stream of computer code and other technical assistance flowing from ZeniMax to Oculus over the next 6 months; (v) Oculus in writing acknowledged getting critical source code from ZeniMax; (vi) Carmack intentionally destroyed data on his computer after he got notice of this litigation and right after he researched on Google how to wipe a hard drive—and data on other Oculus computers and USB storage devices were similarly deleted (as determined by a court-appointed, independent expert in computer forensics); (vii) when he quit id Software, Carmack admitted he secretly downloaded and stole over 10,000 documents from ZeniMax on a USB storage device, as well as the entire source code to RAGE and the id tech® 5 engine —which Carmack uploaded to his Oculus computer; (viii) Carmack filed an affidavit which the court's expert said was false in denying the destruction of evidence; and (ix) Facebook's lawyers made representations to the court about those same Oculus computers which the court's expert said were inaccurate. Oculus’ response in this case that it didn’t use any code or other assistance it received from ZeniMax was not credible, and is contradicted by the testimony of Oculus programmers (who admitted cutting and pasting ZeniMax code into the Oculus SDK), as well as by expert testimony.

You can read about the trial and its outcome here.