The makers of social media giants Facebook – along with its partners, including the founders of a virtual reality device called Oculus- have been forced to cough up half a billion dollars to ZeniMax as it is alleged that Oculus stole the video game publishers idea.
Three years ago Facebook bought over the rights to Oculus for just short of two billion dollars, the dispute surfaced because it is thought that the social media company used software belonging to ZeniMax in order to establish a virtual reality headset, known as Rift.
ZeniMax is adamant that the man who created the headset, John Carmack , who was employed by Oculus in 2013, developed the essential parts of the product’s capabilities while he worked at a subsidiary of the company ZeniMax.
A jury in Dallas, Texas have concluded that Oculus’ usage of the software codes were in breach of copyright regulations, and were ordered to pay 500 million dollars.
The jury stated that none of those accused are believed to have misappropriated the trade secrets of ZeniMax however Oculus’ did break copyright laws.
Despite the fact Facebook is not wholly responsible it is probable that it will need to pay damages to the subsidiaries.
The fact that the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg testified during the trial that no codes owned by ZeniMax were built into the Oculus Rift, was still not enough to convince those in the courtroom to absolve him and his company of any wrongdoing, as the jurors are still going to hold Carmack and other co-founders of the Oculus to account for variations of infringement.
As if it wasn’t bad enough, the networking site are in yet more hot water after EU regulators found that the group failed to provide a truthful account of their takeover of the messaging application, WhatsApp, also in 2014.
A commission looking into the dealings three years ago agreed that Facebook gave “misleading” information. The panel say that Facebook told its anti-trust body before the buyout of WhatsApp- a deal that was worth over 15bn - that it would not be possible to “establish reliable automated matching” in other words connecting a users Facebook page with their WhatsApp account.
Members of the commission decided that WhatsApp improved their service in an update two years after the deal was finalised which now meant the application had the ability to create a link between Facebook at the texting app.
Image by Samwalton9 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.