Bethesda Softworks parent company ZeniMax Media has always been a little sue-happy. But maybe a recent decision from its case against Oculus (and by extension, Facebook) will cool its jets a bit. A jury recently decided that Zuckerberg and Co. will only pay $250 million of the initial $500 million claim from ZeniMax that when John Carmack left Bethesda-owned id Software for Oculus, he stole his former employer's intellectual property, according to Bloomberg.
Judge Ed Kinkeade ruled that Oculus would have to pay out $200 million for breach of contract and then and additional $50 million for copyright infringement Additionally, Kinkeade declined ZeniMax's demand that sales of Oculus headsets be banned.
"Based on a strong evidentiary record, the jury in this case found that ZeniMax was seriously harmed by the defendants' theft of ZeniMax's breakthrough VR technology and its verdict reflected that harm," according to a ZeniMax company statement.
Expectedly, Facebook and Oculus seem pleased with the outcome. "We've said from day one the ZeniMax case is deeply flawed, and today the court agreed. Our commitment to Oculus is unwavering and we will continue to invest in building the future of VR," vice president and Facebook general counsel Paul Grewal said in a statement.
This isn't the only lawsuit ZeniMax has with regards to VR technology. Last year it filed against Samsung, claiming that the tech giant's Gear VR headset was a copyright infringement because the hardware uses Oculus tech, by extension of ZeniMax's claim against Facebook and Oculus. The software publisher also claimed that Carmack came up with the idea for mobile VR while he was still employed by id, as well.
In an unrelated case, ZeniMax is also suing the developers of the Westworld mobile game. The claims there? That Behavior Interactive -- which also worked on Bethesda's Fallout Shelter title -- essentially took the post-apocalyptic mobile game's code, designs, layout and artwork (among other bits) and essentially re-skinned it for HBO. Bethesda alleges that the Westworld game even features some of the same bugs that early versions of Fallout Shelter had.
If anyone stands to benefit here, it's ZeniMax's legal team. Regardless of if a judge and jury takes favor with ZeniMax or not, its lawyers get paid either way. And with how much time the publisher likes spending time in court, the lawyers probably have enough billings to put their kids through college a few times over.