While Facebook's sizable portfolio contains some major names – be it photo sharing service Instagram or messaging giant WhatsApp – the social media corporation likes to keep a hands-off approach with its acquisitions.
That couldn't be further from the case today, as the legal disputes between game publisher ZeniMax and the Facebook-owned virtual reality startup Oculus has roped in none other than FB's own Mark Zuckerberg.
The Facebook creator/owner attended federal court today in Dallas to testify in the legal battle, in which ZeniMax accuses the Oculus of stealing technology back in 2014 that would ultimately appear in the Oculus Rift, and is suing the VR company for a whopping $2 billion in damages.
ZeniMax v Oculus
ZeniMax, best known for publishing games like the Elder Scrolls series and last year's DOOM, claim then-employee and id Software genius John Carmack shared ZeniMax's proprietary VR technology with Oculus' co-creator Palmer Luckey before leaving to work for Oculus himself.
Zuckerberg claims no plagiarism was used in the development of the Rift, saying that Facebook is "highly confident that Oculus products are built on Oculus technology," and that "the idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong," The New York Times reports.
New York Times correspondent Mike Isaac also live-tweeted the initial portion of Zuckerberg's testimony, including some rather pointed questions like this:
Virtual reality, not-so-virtual property
In addition to having Zuckerberg testify to the Oculus' originality, ZeniMax's lawyer Toni Sammi also contested Facebook's particularly speedy $2.3 billion purchase of Oculus two and a half year ago, putting into question why the company hadn't heeded ZeniMax's legal warnings.
According to evidence presented during today's portion of the trial, Facebook appears to have only conducted a weekend's worth of legal diligence on Oculus before making the purchase – an amount of time that Sammi claims isn't even enough to do a routine house inspection, leave alone a proper vetting of a company's ongoing liabilities, according to Gizmodo.
Should the court find Oculus – and by extent, Facebook – guilty of stealing technology for the Rift, it could not only mean a massive payout worth almost as much as Oculus itself, but also severely hamper Facebook's plans for VR – a platform Zuckerberg is hellbent on leading.
Zuckerberg made sure not to exit the stand without leaving behind a piece of his mind, however. In regards to ZeniMax's allegations, the Facebook exec said that big purchases like Oculus' makes "all kinds of people just kind of come out of the woodwork and claim that they just own some portion of the deal,” adding that he had not even heard of ZeniMax before the lawsuit.