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Mark Zuckerberg Testifies in Explosive $2B Lawsuit On His VR Startup Acquisition

Mark Zuckerberg Testifies in Explosive $2B Lawsuit On His VR Startup Acquisition
PHOTOGRAPH: MetaMarket | Photo shows a Virtual Reality gear.

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony is a crucial part of an explosive legal battle pertaining to his acquisition of VR technology. The lawsuit sprang from the allegation that the Oculus VR he bought in 2014 was based on stolen technology.

The lawsuit was filed by Zenimax, which has sought $2 billion in damages against Facebook. It is the equivalent amount Zuckerberg shelled out to acquire the Oculus VR startup.

After Zuckerberg takes the stand this Jan. 17, Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey will follow. Former Zenimax employee and Oculus Chief Technology Officer John Carmack was the first to testify on Jan. 10.  The American game programmer was accused by Zenimax of bringing over to Oculus proprietary information.

VR is All The Rage

Zuckerberg recently wrote on his official Facebook page that with VR, people can experience just about anything. “You can see the full experience with Oculus Rift or Gear VR…” It is evident VR is one of his passions, one that will add to his company’s revenue streams in the years ahead.

Zuckerberg received favorable and unfavorable comments on his thread. There were some who expressed hesitancy on the prospects of another virtual reality app, given all the fake news on Facebook,  trolling, hacking, and other negative occurrences. On the other hand, other individuals lauded the VR thrusts of the Facebook CEO.

Oculus has been central to virtual reality efforts at Facebook, which has become a leader in the space, competing with similar innovations from other established firms. Facebook began shipment of its $599 Rift headsets in March, while shipping of its $199 touch controllers started in December.

How the Controversial Case Started

ZeniMax, which designed such video games as Doom and Quake, said Carmack started corresponding with Oculus founder Palmer Luckey back in 2012. At that time, the latter was working on the virtual reality headset Rift.

ZeniMax called Luckey’s headset “a crude prototype that lacked several components and capabilities. ZeniMax also stated that throughout 2012, Oculus and Luckey  fell short in terms of expertise in creating a “viable virtual reality headset.”

The company went on to say that the tech-savvy Carmack allegedly copied thousands of documents from his ZeniMax computer, and obtained other information that contributed to Rift’s success.  A Zenimax lawyer went to the extent of calling Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus  as “one of the biggest technology heists ever.”

Carmack maintained that his employment agreement with ZeniMax allowed him to be involved with Oculus before he joined Luckey’s startup firm. Carmack also stated that ZeniMax rejected offers to be an early Oculus investor, allowing him to publicly disclose his virtual reality research.

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