Will This Lawsuit Derail Facebook’s Oculus Plans?

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All the fun in the sun for virtual reality company Oculus VR and social network giant Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has to take a second to pause as ZeniMax Media has filed a lawsuit against Oculus. According to PCWorld, the case reached court Wednesday, May 21, in Dallas at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

It doesn’t seem like a case that will go by simply, as ZeniMax CEO and Chair Robert Altman said in a press release, “We cannot ignore the unlawful exploitation of intellectual property that we develop and own, nor will we allow misappropriation and infringement to go unaddressed.” Meanwhile, Oculus stands firmly, stating that, “The lawsuit filed by ZeniMax has no merit whatsoever. As we have previously said, ZeniMax did not contribute to any Oculus technology. Oculus will defend these claims vigorously,” according to a statement received by CNET.

Since the Facebook acquisition of Oculus came to a total of $2 billion, it’s clear that there is a large chunk of money at stake to which ZeniMax feels partly entitled. The company, which was responsible for games such as Doom and the Elder Scrolls series through subsidiary Bethesda, claimed in its press release that Oculus’ founder, Palmer Luckey, “has held himself out to the public as the visionary developer of virtual reality technology, when in fact the key technology Luckey used to establish Oculus was developed by ZeniMax.” The overlap between the two companies comes from John Carmack, who worked at ZeniMax and helped on the Oculus project in its early stages, as well was from close work between ZeniMax and Oculus for an E3 demo in 2012.

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