CEO Mark Zuckerberg denies allegations Facebook stole Oculus VR tech from rival

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has denied allegations that Facebook stole its Oculus virtual reality technology from a rival firm when he took the witness stand in a Dallas courtroom.

Video game publisher ZeniMax Media Inc. claim that Oculus unlawfully used its intellectual property to further the development of the virtual reality (VR) system. The lawsuit was brought against Facebook in 2014, in the middle of a deal that saw Facebook acquiring its lesser known rival for $2 billion.

Zuckerberg underwent several hours of questioning by lawyers acting for ZeniMax over where Oculus came up with its ideas and how much he himself knew about ZeniMax before Facebook took it over.

A spokesman for ZeniMax, the owner of Id, the company responsible for both the Doom and Quake games, told the Guardian newspaper that:

“We’re disappointed that another company is using wasteful litigation to attempt to take credit for technology that it did not have the vision, expertise or patience to build.”

From the witness stand, Zuckerberg himself scoffed at the allegation that his firm was responsible for stealing trade secrets:

“I’m here because I believe they’re false and it’s important to testify to that,” he said, characterising the lawsuit as a case of sour grapes. “It’s pretty common when you announce a big deal that people just come out of the woodwork and claim they own some part of the deal. The idea that Oculus technology is based on someone else’s is just wrong.”

While the specifics of the case are complicated, one of the major thrusts of ZeniMax’s arguments is that Facebook did not carry out due diligence when purchasing the company. The deal was apparently worked out over the course of one weekend.

The other main point in the case is that Oculus would not have been able to have develop its VR technology in the way it has without significant and possible inside help from ZeniMax, before Facebook took the company over.

The court case is expected to last several more weeks, with ZeniMax founder, Palmer Luckey expected to take the stand before Friday.


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