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Longstanding IP theft case involving Facebook settled

This intellectual property dispute between two major companies took a fair bit of time to resolve.

And that was certainly understandable, given that alleged trade secret theft was at the core of contention, coupled with a damage demand of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Such was the case in prolonged litigation filed back in the spring of 2014 by video game maker ZeniMax Media Inc. against online media and social networking giant Facebook.

An initial scanning of the matter points toward complexity, but the dispute was essentially quite simple and direct, to wit: ZeniMax claimed that its former chief technology officer unlawfully shared proprietary company data with the founder of virtual reality company Oculus. That entity was subsequently acquired by Facebook and turned into a virtual reality division. ZeniMax has consistently claimed since its infringement lawsuit filed back in May 2014 that it must be compensated for the theft of its valuable trade secrets.

ZeniMax filed its claim in a Texas court, citing a litany of legal wrongs committed by Oculus’s creator and Facebook. Those allegedly included trademark infringement, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and contract breach.

The court was persuaded by those claims. It ruled in ZeniMax’s favor earlier this year, awarding the game manufacturer a whopping $500 million in damages.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook appealed that outcome. The two sides were apparently still locked in legal battle until last week, when they suddenly announced a settlement agreement.

The terms of the pact are undisclosed. ZeniMax Chairman Robert Altman says that the details fully satisfy his company, which, while averse to litigation, “will always vigorously defend against any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property.”

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