While it wasn’t the $4 billion slam dunk ZeniMax was hoping for, a Dallas, TX jury today awarded $500 million to ZeniMax after finding that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey had breached nondisclosure agreements. However, Oculus was not found to have misappropriated trade secrets, a key claim made by ZeniMax in the case.

Polygon reports that the verdict in the ZeniMax v. Oculus case has just come out following weeks in the courtroom and several days of jury deliberation:

Of the $500 million, Oculus is paying out $200 million for breaking the NDA and $50 million for copyright infringement. Oculus and Luckey each have to pay $50 million for false designation. And Iribe has to pay $150 million for the same, final count.

According to a statement provided to Polygon, Oculus says they plan to appeal the ruling, and further tried to position the jury’s decision as a victory.

“The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor,” an Oculus spokesperson told Polygon. “We’re obviously disappointed by a few other aspects of today’s verdict, but we are undeterred. Oculus products are built with Oculus technology. Our commitment to the long-term success of VR remains the same, and the entire team will continue the work they’ve done since day one – developing VR technology that will transform the way people interact and communicate.”

For background on the case, see our summary here.

Jury Documents Detail Verdict

With two defendants and five defendants, the verdict in this case was not a single, simple ruling, but an array of assignments of liability, damages, and more.

The full 90 page jury instructions and verdict document, details the 58 questions the jury deliverated on to arrive at the $500 million ruling.

What Happens Next?

While in criminal cases the burden of proof is “beyond a reasonable doubt” (meaning the prosecution must prove the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt), the typical burden of proof facing plaintiffs in civil (like this one) cases is much lower. With respect to most civil claims, the plaintiff need only prove each element of a claim by a “preponderance of the evidence.” To establish an element by a preponderance of the evidence means to prove that “something is more likely so than not so.”

The unpredictability that accompanies jury decisions (especially in civil cases with complex issues) is a main reason why parties tend to settle lawsuits, and some settle while the case is with the jury.

Although the verdict has been announced, it’s not likely the end of the case, but actually a second beginning. Given the high stakes of this case, expect a number of post-verdict motions and appeals, resulting in the case dragging on indefinitely. The appellate process can take years. Often, parties will settle during the appellate process for an array of reasons, ranging from business concerns to legal uncertainty to resource drain.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."

    Wow. I hate the idea of $500 Million not available for Oculus to invest in VR. I wasn’t there, but Oculus & FB made it possible for me to have a RIFT in my home. Zenimax did…..what?

    • Get Schwifty!

      Hey come on, Zenimax is going to take this money they “earned” and capitalize on it by putting out their super-secret Zenimax VR Headset and controllers…. they are after all a serious VR trailblazer LOL.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about them lacking money… they are owned by Facebook who just beat their 4th quarter earnings estimates by about 400 million… funny how the timing of all this just works in Zenimax’s favor ;)

    • Sponge Bob

      Employed Carmack for a while while he was working for Luckey ?
      Welcome to corporate America, dude

    • Caven

      It’s closer to $300 million, as $200 million of that consists of judgments against Iribe and Luckey specifically. Those numbers can also go down during the appeal process.

    • user

      maybe we should get rid of the current justice system and let ppl in comment sections decide by up and downvoting.

  • Will Palmer Luckey still be a nimble rich man after this?

    • Jim Cherry

      Yes unless he wastes 300+ mill on hookers and blow.

    • Get Schwifty!

      Poor guy is down to about 650 million…. I’m sure he will survive…and not even 30…. what a life…

  • Me

    I think it’s a strange decision, but one that makes kinda sense. Oculus as a company is a driving force for VR, like HTC, Valve and others are. The problem is that there are also very shady persons in this company that are ruining the efforts of the good people that are the real brains behind this technology marvel VR is.

    The best that could happen after this would be a huge spring cleanup in their ranks to make sure that such practices are things of the past. The recent inner reorganization is perhaps a hint of what is really going on inside this company, and I think being a bit more open and transparent about that would greatly benefit Oculus and it’s image to the public.

  • Foreign Devil

    Luckey proving to be un-Luckey for Facebook.

  • Nigerian Wizard

    Luckey has been nothing but trouble for the face of Oculus. He needs to be killed off the scene.

    • Get Schwifty!

      LOL… this made me laugh… really? Based on culpability in the trial he is the least guilty… young and naive with money, whats your beef with Luckey? His donation bothering you?

      • Caven

        A lot of people have been bothered by how his past statements seemed to be a roadmap of things Oculus wasn’t going to do, such as the infamous “in the ballpark” quote regarding the price of the Rift CV1. Saying “that he needs to be killed off the scene” is a definite overreaction, but his previous status as the voice of Oculus has brought them a fair bit of PR grief. A spokesperson who is more careful with public statements can go a long way toward a positive public perception of Oculus VR.

        • A “Spokesperson”? The F’n inventor! THE driving FORCE. Oculus had a pretty faced spokesperson who said all of the right things, and I’m very glad we see less of him. Lucky is a real engineer, a true nerd, and it’s about time the public see who really makes all of their miracles of technology happen. Our entire world is slipping away into a candy coated haze of bullsh*t and pretty faced lairs. I’d take a guy putting his foot in his mouth every once in awhile over some whitewashed nobody telling me exactly what they THINK we want to hear. I like that little nerd ALOT!

          • Caven

            I wasn’t referring to Palmer Luckey as “just” a spokesperson, even if he was doing double-duty as one up until that political scandal hit.

            Regarding the rest of your post, if he just talked like an engineer, that wouldn’t have been a problem. The majority of his missteps have been when he acted like a spokesperson, since he’s not good at that role. Turning the Rift’s price into a nasty case of sticker shock didn’t help any, nor did his actions during all the shipping headaches. You’re implying that the public face is a one-or-the-other situation, where I see it as a team effort. Put Luckey in front of a microphone for tech talk, but someone like Iribe in front of it for business talk. If Luckey had let someone else do the talking when it came to pricing, the “in the ballpark” fiasco would never have happened.

      • Nigerian Wizard

        Alas the Oculus Defense Force has arrived! Listen Schwifty, he is a terrible PR spokesperson, went on to hurt Facebook’s political views with Trump memes, $50 Million in NDA damages (nice try going “B-but he wasn’t the most culpable! Hurrr!’), and doesn’t do anything in the company anymore. Nobody takes him seriously in sales, engineering, PR, etc.

    • WyrdestGeek

      Not sure about the phrase “killed off the scene”, but if you mean he should be personal non grata, I believe he already has been for a while.

      This current predicament stems from stuff Palmer et. Al. did in the past.

      With “luck”, he will have run out of skeletons in the closet.

  • WyrdestGeek

    I guess the moral of the story is that everything can be fixed with arguing and money.


    Whatevs. $500 mil? Not as bad as $4 billion. And we move on…

  • Jerome Harley

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