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ZeniMax asks court to halt sales of Oculus products

Company seeks injunction on top of $500M judgment

Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Publisher ZeniMax Media has made good on its intention to file an injunction against Oculus to stop the sale of Rift and any associated software that infringes upon ZeniMax’s copyrighted code, according to documents filed in Texas court this week.

Earlier this month, a Dallas, Texas jury awarded $500 million in damages to ZeniMax after finding that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, and by extension Oculus, failed to comply with a non-disclosure agreement. Of that total amount, ZeniMax was awarded $50 million for copyright infringement.

Those damages don’t go far enough, ZeniMax lawyers said in a court filing.

“The jury’s damage award here, however substantial, is an insufficient incentive for Defendants to cease infringing,” ZeniMax said in court documents. “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.’”

ZeniMax’s injunction intends to block the sale and distribution of any Oculus products that use its copyrighted code. That includes, but is not limited to, system software for Oculus PC and mobile products, as well as Oculus integration with the Unreal Engine and Unity Game Engine. The injunction could impact not only Oculus and the sale of Rift hardware, but developers working on software for the virtual reality platform.

Alternatively, if the court elects not to impose the injunction, ZeniMax said, it should grant the company an “ongoing royalty.” While ZeniMax’s filing with the court doesn’t specify a requested royalty amount, the request for injunction says that based on testimony from the trial, “an ongoing royalty of 20 percent for at least ten years on revenues derived from products incorporating ZeniMax’s intellectual property would be appropriate.”

Oculus said earlier this month it plans to appeal the jury’s decision.

Rockville, Maryland-based ZeniMax sued Oculus in May 2014, alleging that the VR startup misappropriated trade secrets in the development of the Oculus Rift headset. The lawsuit was filed weeks after ZeniMax publicly accused former id Software chief technology officer and co-founder John Carmack of providing technology to Oculus.