11 April 2017Copyright

Oculus seeks to overturn $500m copyright and TM verdict

Facebook’s virtual reality company Oculus sought to overturn a $500 million verdict in a dispute with video game developer ZeniMax Media concerning Oculus’ Rift headset.

A Texas jury awarded the damages to ZeniMax in early February after finding copyright and trademark infringement and breach of a non-disclosure agreement.

ZeniMax alleged that Oculus used code from the video game developer in order to build its Rift headset, which is designed to allow people to enter an immersive computer-generated environment.

The suit was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division back in 2014.

On Friday, April 7, Oculus and its former CEO Brendan Iribe, chief technology officer John Carmack and founder Palmer Luckey filed a motion for judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) and a motion for a partial new trial.

The $500 million in damages included $50 million for copyright infringement, $200 million for breach of contract, a $50 million award against both Oculus and Luckey for false designation ($100 million in total), and $150 million against Iribe for false designation.

Under the JMOL, the executives argued that the claim for false designation failed because ZeniMax didn’t produce “legally sufficient evidence of consumer confusion, proximate cause, or damages”, and because the company couldn’t “articulate a viable theory of liability”.

The executives added that if its JMOL is not granted, the court should undertake a new trial.

On the false designation claim, Oculus said a new trial is warranted because the verdict is against the “great weight” of the evidence and the damages award is excessive.

The filing also alleged that the copyright infringement claim failed because ZeniMax hadn’t shown substantial similarity of protectable elements, provided a side-by-side comparison of the works, or presented sufficient evidence of damages.

It also alleged that any literal copying that did occur was de minimis.

The executives requested a new trial on the copyright infringement claims too.

Yesterday, WIPR reported that Oculus had been hit with a patent infringement claim, also centring on its Rift headset.

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More on this story

10 April 2017   Techno View IP, a California-based technology licensing company, has hit Oculus, Facebook’s virtual reality subsidiary, with a patent infringement claim.
9 May 2017   Video games developer ZeniMax Media has attacked Facebook’s virtual reality company Oculus in a response to Oculus’s bid for a new IP trial.