Facebook’s virtual-reality tech was not stolen, Zuckerberg testifies

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By Lisa Maria Garza

<span class="articleLocation”>Facebook Inc Chief Executive Officer Mark
Zuckerberg took the witness stand in Dallas federal court on
Tuesday and denied an allegation by a rival company that the
virtual-reality technology of Facebook’s Oculus unit was stolen.

Zuckerberg, wearing a dark suit and striped tie rather than
his typical T-shirt and jeans, began testifying at 9 a.m. local
time (1500 GMT) and 2 1/2 hours later was still answering
questions posed by a lawyer for videogame publisher ZeniMax
Media Inc.

ZeniMax sued Oculus in 2014 as Facebook was in the process
of buying the startup for $2 billion. The publisher said that
Oculus unlawfully gained access to ZeniMax’s intellectual
property while developing the virtual-reality system that
includes the Rift headset.

Zuckerberg told a jury in the crowded courtroom that those
claims are false. “Oculus products are based on Oculus
technology,” he said.

Under questioning from ZeniMax lawyer Tony Sammi, the
32-year-old billionaire addressed how Facebook’s investment in
virtual reality came together. Zuckerberg said the purchase of
Oculus included not only the $2 billion price but also $700
million to retain employees and $300 million in payouts for
reaching milestones.

Zuckerberg said the Oculus deal was done over a weekend in
2014, which Sammi said in court does not show due diligence.

At the time, Zuckerberg testified, he was not aware of the
claims against Oculus.

“It’s pretty common when you announce a big deal that people
just come out of the woodwork and claim they own some part of
the deal,” Zuckerberg said.

The lawsuit, in the sixth day of a jury trial, relates in
part to programmer John Carmack.

Well-known for helping to conceive games such as “Quake” and “Doom,” Carmack worked for id Software LLC before that company
was acquired by ZeniMax. He is now the chief technology officer
at Oculus.

Zuckerberg denied that Carmack has used computer code from
his previous position to unfairly help Oculus. “There is no
shared code in what we do,” he said.

Zuckerberg said he has been interested in virtual reality
since he was a student, but thought it was decades away from
happening before he encountered Oculus.

“We want to get closer to this kind of perfect
representation, so you can capture a moment you had,” he said.

The case is ZeniMax Media Inc et al v. Oculus VR Inc et al,
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, No.
3:14-cv-1849.



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