ZeniMax Goes for Oculus' Throat; Files Worldwide Injunction

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Steve Anderson
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ZeniMax Goes for Oculus' Throat; Files Worldwide Injunction

The ongoing drama between ZeniMax and Oculus / Facebook is still indeed ongoing, from recent reports, and now a new development has cropped up that is nothing short of earth-shattering. ZeniMax has filed a new injunction against Oculus, complete with a recommendation that, if followed, would basically pull Oculus out of the market for a good long while to come.

The recommendation with the injunction--filed just Thursday--proposes that Oculus be "...permanently enjoined, on a worldwide basis, from using...any of the Copyrighted materials, including but not limited to  (i) system software for Oculus PC (including the Oculus PC SDK); (ii) system software for Oculus Mobile (including the Oculus Mobile SDK); (iii) Oculus integration with the Epic Games Unreal Engine; and (iv) Oculus integration with the Unity Technologies Unity Game Engine."

Naturally, Facebook--who likely has entire battalions of lawyers trained for purposes just like this--responded to UploadVR, suggesting the filing was both "legally flawed" and "factually unwarranted."

This follows a huge blow to Oculus / Facebook, which came in the form of a $500 million verdict in ZeniMax's favor in the recent civil suit over ZeniMax's copyrights.

However, not everyone believes this will go off as planned; IP law firm McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP partner Joshua Rich noted that the jury verdict might actually hurt ZeniMax's chances of getting that injunction passed. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm struggling through the parsing here somewhat, but basically, the jury DID find that Oculus broke a non-disclosure agreement, and did make use of code portions and logos. That same jury, however, rejected claims that Oculus had directly taken "trade secrets," a point that would have made ZeniMax's case for an injunction much stronger. With just a broken NDA, code and logos involved, Rich noted, that's not much basis for a full injunction.

Rich even notes that the best ZeniMax can hope for is that Oculus is essentially forced back to the drawing board, pulling out the improper code and being forced to replace it with new code. That's a tough job, but not nearly as bad as it would have been under a trade secrets violation.

It's hoped by many--though exact numbers are unclear--that Oculus can at least stay in the market to serve as a competitive force to the HTC Vive. More competition in a market is commonly good news, as it gives the consumer more to choose from and more value overall in the products released as companies jockey for market share.

While Zenimax may not get its way on this run, there's still a possibility of a serious crimp in the VR market, which is still young in many ways.

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