Facebook Ordered to Pay $500M in Virtual Reality Case

It was sued for stealing trade secrets, but jury found company guilty on other counts
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 2, 2017 5:48 AM CST
Updated Feb 2, 2017 8:37 AM CST
Facebook Loses $500M Virtual Reality Lawsuit
A man tries out the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset at the Oculus booth at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Facebook is going to have to cough up $500 million in real money for unlawfully using another company's virtual reality technology. A jury decided Wednesday that VR pioneer Oculus, which Facebook bought for $2 billion in 2014, infringed copyright and trademarks when it used code from games maker Zenimax to launch its own VR headset, the BBC reports. Zenimax had accused the company of stealing trade secrets, saying Oculus headsets were "primitive" before a former Zenimax employee used his insider knowledge to improve them.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg tells CNBC that the company is "disappointed in certain elements of" the ruling, but Facebook notes that while the jury found the company guilty of copyright infringement, failure to comply with a non-disclosure agreement, and misuse of Oculus trademarks, it did not find it guilty of stealing secrets. She says the $500 million verdict, which Facebook is considering appealing, is "not material to our financials." Reuters reports that Facebook released its latest financial results Wednesday, showing a $3.57 billion profit in the last quarter, up $2 billion year-over-year. (Read more Oculus stories.)

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