Facebook’s Oculus Fights Sales Ban for VR Rift Headset

Facebook Inc. wants a federal judge to let it continue sales of its virtual-reality headsets even though a jury said the social-media giant’s Oculus unit stole another company’s computer code.

ZeniMax Media Inc.’s request for a court order blocking sales of unspecified models of the Oculus Rift, which is priced at $600 with controllers, follows a $500 million verdict in February over claims that Oculus and some of its executives purloined proprietary information when they designed the headset prototype.

Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has said that the company’s bet on virtual reality as the next big computing platform will take years to pay off. Currently, the headsets are mostly popular among video game players — not the mainstream. But projections by Bloomberg Intelligence show the market for virtual and augmented-reality hardware may exceed $40 billion in sales in 2020.

A sales ban would place an unfair hardship on Oculus and its business partners and customers, the company argued in a filing in Dallas federal court, where a hearing was held Tuesday on ZeniMax’s request for an injunction and Oculus’s bid to reduce the damages awarded at trial.

It “would serve no one but ZeniMax, who would use it only as leverage to try to extract money from Oculus,” lawyers for Oculus said in the filing. “The injunction would create a windfall for ZeniMax while detracting from the public’s enjoyment of Oculus’s groundbreaking products.”

Potential Harm

It’s tough to get a product pulled from the market in these types of cases, even when the two sides are direct competitors. If the judge decides ZeniMax can be made whole with money, then he’s unlikely to disrupt Facebook’s business. U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade will consider Facebook’s chances of winning on appeal, the existing or potential harm to each company and what’s in the public’s…

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