One of the most interesting technology court battles in the past few years will heat up this week. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is currently scheduled to testify in Dallas, Texas on Tuesday, Jan. 17, in the ongoing trial between game publisher ZeniMax and Facebook’s VR company Oculus.
ZeniMax filed a lawsuit against Oculus and Facebook in May 2014, just a couple of months after Facebook acquired Oculus, the creator of the Oculus Rift headset, in March 2014 for $2.3 billion. ZeniMax claims that John Carmack, one of the founders of DOOM creator id Software, left the developer in 2013 a few years after ZeniMax acquired it in 2009. Carmack left to join Oculus, along with five other id Software employees. ZeniMax claims Carmack took technology and software that belonged to ZeniMax over to Oculus. It also claims Facebook was aware of this when they bought the VR company.
How much are these trade secrets worth to ZeniMax? Quite a b it actually. ZeniMax is asking for $2 billion in damages. Oculus and Facebook have denied ZeniMax’s claims, countering that the company is only trying to get some money from Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus. You can bet that ZeniMax’s lawyers will try their best to get more details from Zuckerberg when he testifies on how and why Facebook bought Oculus, and how much they knew about the company beforehand.
Another major figure in the trial will make an appearance on the stand sometime later this week. Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, is currently scheduled to testify, but there’s no set date yet. Luckey has not been seen or heard from in public in the last several months, after it was revealed that he helped fund an organization that posted pro-Donald Trump and anti-Hillary Clinton memes during the 2016 US Presidential campaign.