ZeniMax asks jury for $4 billion between damages and compensation in Oculus VR case

The jury is expected to reach a verdict on Monday, January 30.

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Attorneys on both sides of the ZeniMax and Oculus trial shared closing arguments yesterday following weeks of heated testimonies and proceedings.

As its final salvo, ZeniMax's attorneys asked the jury to award the company $2 billion in punitive damages and another $2 billion in compensation (via Gamasutra).

"We’re here because the defendants stole something very valuable," ZeniMax attorney Anthony Sammi told the jury. Sammi spent the trial arguing ZeniMax's contention that Oculus illegally obtained key technology and materials that led to the creation of the company's Rift VR headset.

Oculus' attorney Beth Wilkinson countered by accusing ZeniMax of filing its lawsuit out of anger and embarrassment rather than hard evidence. According to Oculus, company founder Palmer Luckey conceived the idea for the product, which was then developed by engineers.

Key personnel from both entities including Mark Zuckerberg, John Carmack, Palmer Luckey, and Oculus CEO Brandon Iribe provided testimony during the trial.

The jury is expected to reconvene and deliver a verdict this Monday, January 30.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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  • reply
    January 27, 2017 1:54 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, ZeniMax asks jury for $4 billion between damages and compensation in Oculus VR case

    • reply
      January 27, 2017 2:07 PM

      wow, it was insane at 2 - 3 billion, but 4 billion?

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        January 27, 2017 2:12 PM

        errr.. I meant that facebook bought OR for 2 - 3 billion, however, zenimax is asking for more than that, 4 billion in damages and compensation.

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          January 27, 2017 2:17 PM

          Maybe they're shooting high, hoping for 2 bil

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          January 27, 2017 3:52 PM

          Facebook didn't bought Oculus for 2B in cash. Only 700M, and the rest as stock.

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      January 27, 2017 2:30 PM

      Fuck ZeniMax so hard. Hope they walk with nothing.

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      January 27, 2017 2:36 PM

      I hope the jury sends them on their way with an empty NukaCola bottle (without the cap,) a desk fan, 400 rounds of ammo for a gun none of them have, and a scorpion tail.

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      January 27, 2017 3:18 PM

      this is a really interesting case but I need more details. I wish I can read the whole transcript. Very curious to see how much zenimax gets if anything

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      January 27, 2017 3:28 PM

      If they are guilty, yup, go for it.

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      January 27, 2017 4:18 PM

      after reading all I can find on the internet about this case, I think it'll be tough for zenimax to get much

      the main things Oculus is guilty of is Carmack helping them while still employed at zenimax, and Carmack stealing code when he quit zenimax.

      The problem is both of those acts have to be proven as damaging to zenimax. For the first act, Carmack says Oculus wouldve happened without his guidance, and the second act he says it was just emails and no code was used in Oculus. Carmack definitely guilty of the acts themselves but it has to show Oculus gained 4 billion from it.

      I'm a big believer in innocent until proven guilty, I do think Carmack is guilty of stuff, but if I was on the jury Id want hard evidence and not accusations.

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        January 27, 2017 4:22 PM

        The only thing John Carmack is guilty of is being John Carmack. Mmmmm.

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        January 27, 2017 4:38 PM

        I may be mistaken as this is a section of law I'm not too familiar with, but if Carmack is guilty of wrongdoing, I believe Oculus is guilty as well (they accepted the information provided by Carmack).

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        January 27, 2017 7:41 PM

        Didn't carmack and some of the original id guys wrote games while employed at a software company and used their computers to do so?

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          January 27, 2017 7:55 PM

          Yeah, it's documented in Masters of Doom. Their employer caught wind of that and the id guys just shrugged and gave them a "come at me bro".
          The employer still kept the id guys on board, since they were so productive as programmers.

          • reply
            January 27, 2017 11:50 PM

            Such a great audiobook. Wil Wheaton did a great job of narrating. Mmmmm.

          • reply
            January 27, 2017 11:50 PM

            Such a great audiobook. Wil Wheaton did a great job of narrating. Mmmmm.

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        January 27, 2017 7:51 PM

        This is not a criminal case, but a civil one. Burdens of proof kperate on a different scale

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        January 28, 2017 3:49 AM

        Did Carmack really steal code when he left? That seems like such an obviously stupid thing to do and he would know better.

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          January 28, 2017 4:00 AM

          I think its a common practice in some parts of game dev... I know animators will often take source files they worked on - so they can put together a showreel.

          It's never something that you're technically allowed to do, but for animators - taking source files (or at the very least, being allowed to send renders home) is common.

          Never really heard of it for code though...

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            January 28, 2017 4:15 AM

            If you look at history, Carmack in particular seems like a scorched earth kind of sociopath and there was always behind the scene drama.

            They fucked over each other in their shares of the company when they sold for example leading to a expensive lawsuit. If you go back far enough you will see how they had Romero doing tons of work on quake 1 and never getting a single penny for it. He literally didn't get paid for making quake, one of the games his name is associated with forever, staring with coding the compression tools that install the game (not to mention the best mp maps or the whole shareware episode).

            So yeah aside from doing the standard practice thing I wouldn't be surprised if he raided them nor only for talent but code.

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            January 28, 2017 4:17 AM

            Sure, and lots of people in the corporate world conveniently find copies of spreadsheets they made at their old jobs on thumb drives, too, but we've been through enough years of IP litigation now that everyone knows it can get you in big trouble. Just doesn't seem like a mistake a really smart guy like Carmack would make.

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      January 27, 2017 4:41 PM

      Yeaaaaah, Zenimax lost $4 billion for something they weren't working on. Lol.

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      January 27, 2017 8:07 PM

      Couldn't facebook just buy Zenimax and end all this?

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        January 27, 2017 8:23 PM

        No, Zenimax is pretty huge

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          January 28, 2017 3:33 AM

          Their total equity is probably less than what they are asking for.

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        January 28, 2017 6:37 AM

        That would be hilarious.

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      January 28, 2017 4:51 AM

      I dunno about this case, but the stories about what Oculus pulled with Valve's VR team sound so shady that I would be hesitant to assume this is just ZeniMax being greedy.

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        January 28, 2017 5:03 AM

        You seriously believe that ZeniMax has put any R&D resources into VR? Where's their VR platform and team right now?

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          January 28, 2017 5:55 AM

          I'm just saying Oculus apparently have form for very questionable poaching of staff and technology from other firms

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            January 28, 2017 8:53 AM

            Poaching? If someone goes up to me as a software developer and offers me a better job, more money with people I know and like, that's not poaching, that's offering a good position.

            All this noncompete anti-poaching agreement bullshit is bad for developers and sometimes flat out illegal.

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        January 28, 2017 7:12 AM

        Yeah this is only a first of many, many cases lined up that are gonna be a lot more damaging to Oculus/Facebook but especially Palmer.

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          January 28, 2017 8:04 AM

          Why would it be damaging to Palmer? Just wondering... I thought he was just a potential witness.

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