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ZeniMax Takes Legal Action Against Samsung In Continuing VR Battle

by Joe Juba on May 15, 2017 at 04:40 PM

Earlier this year, a legal battle between ZeniMax and Oculus concluded with the former being awarded $500 million. While the case was complicated, the victory ultimately hinged on Oculus employees' violation of a non-disclosure agreement relating to ZeniMax's VR technology. Now, a connected legal confrontation is brewing between ZeniMax and Samsung, the makers of Gear VR.

Public court documents filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division on May 12, 2017 show that ZeniMax is taking civil action against Samsung. Samsung's Gear VR was developed in collaboration with Oculus, and last year the court subpoenaed information from Samsung regarding source code and technology provided by Oculus during its creation. 

In the document, ZeniMax claims that "Samsung has used, and continues to utilize, ZeniMax’s VR technology (or derivatives thereof) that was misappropriated by Oculus (now owned by Facebook) in its Samsung Gear VR which continues to be 'powered by Oculus.'"

You can see the first page of the legal filing below. 

If the court rules in ZeniMax's favor, the company could get monetary compensation and "injunctive relief," which would mean Samsung would need to stop selling Gear VR units that use infringing technology. 

[Source: U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas]


Our Take:
I'm no legal expert, but it would seem like the prior ruling against Oculus is the foundation here. If the court previously found that Oculus violated the NDA and infringed on ZeniMax's copyrights, then other companies or products directly tied to that action could also be liable. Whether or not that's ultimately what happened here is what the jury will have to decide.