Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg has taken to the stand in a Dallas courtroom. The technological leader was called to give evidence over the claim that Facebook owned tech division Oculus had stolen its virtual reality software from another company.
Zuckerberg faced a barrage of questions on the background to Oculus’ product. His company has had a case brought against it by software company ZeniMax. The company claims that it had pioneered the technology that Oculus improved upon and claimed as its own. The company has also claimed that Oculus had destroyed evidence relating to the stolen intellectual property. The claim has been readily refuted by John Carmack, the Chief technical officer at Oculus. Carmack previously founded ID software which was a subsidiary of ZeniMax. It is there that ZeniMax claim that Carmack himself had been privy to sensitive information that he later used at Oculus.
The case has been rumbling on since 2014. ZeniMax claim that they have conclusive evidence that Oculus had copied their ideas, even down to the code level. Carmack insists that the claims are “ridiculous and absurd”. The claims relate to his time at ID, where ZeniMax claim that not only did he steal the idea, he also launched the Kickstarter campaign that helped to fund the project whilst still working for the firm.
Zuckerberg whilst giving testimony noted “We are highly confident that Oculus products are built on Oculus technology,” he went on to state “The idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong.” Zuckerberg had stated that the only reason he attended court is that he believes the claims against Oculus are false, and it is important that he testifies to that. He was grilled significantly on whether he did “due diligence” over the deal. Facebook paid $2 billion the company in 2014.
The claims could be potentially damaging for the reputation of the tech giant. Facebook has invested vast sums of money as a gamble that VR technology is the next big market. Any trouble on the horizon could cost the company millions. Though Zuckerberg and Carmack seem relatively relaxed will be reassuring to investors, who are also hoping that Facebook can push the Oculus brand to maximise its potential.
Joseph is a 34 year old freelance writer from London. He has a wide interest in politics and specialises in the subject. He's also a blog writer in his spare time.