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Mark Zuckerberg Defends Facebook’s Oculus Acquisition in Virtual Reality Lawsuit

Variety logo Variety 1/17/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took the stand in a high-profile lawsuit over the company’s 2014 acquisition of virtual reality startup Oculus in Dallas, Tx. Tuesday, denying charges that Oculus stole trade secrets from a competitor and that Facebook rushed through its acquisition without the necessary due diligence.

Zuckerberg’s appearance was just the latest chapter in a lawsuit filed in 2014 by ZeniMax Media, whose subsidiaries have produced video games like “Quake,” “Fallout” and “Wolfenstein.” ZeniMax alleges that Oculus CTO John Carmack and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey stole trade secrets while being employed or consulting for the company.

Zuckerberg denied those charges on Tuesday, saying that Facebook was “highly confident” that Oculus products were based on original technology. “The idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong,” he said, according to the New York Times.

Luckey and Carmack are scheduled to testify later this week.

ZeniMax’s lawyers focused on details of the acquisition during their cross-examination, suggesting that the company didn’t take enough time to evaluate whether Oculus really owned all of the technology it was developing.

Zuckerberg acknowledged that Facebook had scheduled only three days for due diligence, prompting a ZeniMax layer to point out that even house inspections can take longer. “I can’t really speak to the time frame it takes to inspect a house,” Zuckerberg replied, according to Gizmodo.

Facebook acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014. Oculus has since cooperated with Samsung on the company’s Gear VR headset and released its own Rift virtual reality headset. Zuckerberg has long said that virtual reality could be the next big thing for Facebook, and Oculus has been developing a range of social applications for its headsets.

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