The more than two-year-long legal battle between Zenimax and Oculus over the alleged theft of VR technology kicked off its first day of courtroom testimony today with the extensive questioning of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
The core issue of the lawsuit is the allegation that the technology powering Oculus’ virtual reality headsets is based on intellectual property developed by Zenimax, and that Oculus illegitimately obtained and made use of “trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology” belonging to Zenimax.
Oculus and its parent company Facebook has denied these claims at every turn, which lead to Zuckerberg’s appearance in court today to be questioned about the technology and about Facebook’s acquisition of the VR company back in 2014.
“We are highly confident that Oculus products are built on Oculus technology,” said Zuckerberg during his testimony, according to reporting done by The New York Times from the courtroom. “The idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong.”
Mike Isaac of The New York Times, who live-tweeted the first half of Tuesday’s proceedings, said that Zenimax’s lawyers questioned Zuckerberg on everything from the timing and pricing of the initial Oculus deal, which closed shortly after Zenimax filed the initial suit, to his broader goals for virtual reality technology.
Throughout the testimony, Zuckerberg maintained the claim that Facebook and Oculus were both innocent of the intellectual property theft alleged by Zenimax, at one point saying "I’m aware of the claims and I’m here because I think they are false and it’s important to testify to that.”
“It is pretty common when you announce a big deal or do something that all kinds of people just kind of come out of the woodwork and claim that they just own some portion of the deal. Like most people in the court, I’ve never even heard of Zenimax before.”