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ZeniMax Agrees to Settle Facebook VR Lawsuit

Game company ZeniMax Media said it is has agreed to settle litigation against Facebook, Oculus and individual executives alleging misappropriation of its virtual-reality technology.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

ZeniMax sued Facebook in 2014 after Id Software co-founder John Carmack joined Oculus as chief technology officer. In the suit, which sought as much as $4 billion in damages, alleged Carmack and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey stole trade secrets and used them to create the Oculus Rift headset.

A federal jury in early 2017 returned a verdict in favor of ZeniMax, awarding $500 million in damages for copyright infringement and breach of contract but finding that Oculus did not steal trade secrets. In June 2018, a federal district court judge cut the damage award to $250 million, tossing out the damages against Luckey and ex-Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe as well as denying ZeniMax’s motion to ban sales of Oculus headsets. The parties appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit; the appeal was pending when ZeniMax reached the settlement with Facebook.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“We are pleased that a settlement has been reached and are fully satisfied by the outcome,” Robert Altman, ZeniMax’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “While we dislike litigation, we will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property by third parties.”

In October, Carmack said he settled all litigation with ZeniMax, including his 2017 lawsuit against ZeniMax alleging the company owed him $22.5 million for the acquisition of Id. “Zenimax has fully satisfied their obligations to me from the purchase of Id Software, and we have released all claims against each other,” he said in a tweet.

ZeniMax creates and publishes original interactive entertainment content for consoles, PCs, and handheld/wireless devices. Its divisions include Bethesda Softworks — known for role-playing game franchises “The Elder Scrolls” and “Fallout” — Bethesda Game Studios, Id Software, Arkane Studios, Tango Gameworks, MachineGames, and ZeniMax Online Studios.

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