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Facebook co-founder and chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, speaks at an Oculus developers conference while wearing a virtual reality headset in San Jose October 6, 2016. — AFP pic

Agency Report

Facebook and creators of its Oculus Rift have been ordered by a US jury to pay $500 million to gaming software firm ZeniMax in a lawsuit that claimed the virtual reality technology was stolen.

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It was reported that the Texas jury made the award in a trial in which Oculus was accused of basing its Rift headset on technology stolen from ZeniMax’s virtual reality software.

The lawsuit was said to have claimed that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and his colleagues developed the virtual reality gear using source code illegally obtained from the gaming firm.

The jury dismissed the charge that Oculus stole or misappropriated trade secrets but found Oculus liable for copyright infringement and other violations.

Luckey was then ordered to pay $50 million of the award and another former Oculus executive, Brendan Iribe $150 million.

The two executives were accused of violating a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax and copying the source code and other documents on a USB storage device.

ZeniMax had sought $4 billion in damages in the case, in which Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg testified to defend his company.

– ZeniMax pleased, Oculus appeals –

Maryland-based ZeniMax said it was “pleased” about the award for “unlawful infringement of our copyrights and trademarks, and for the violation of our non-disclosure agreement with Oculus pursuant to which we shared breakthrough VR technology that we had developed and that we exclusively own.”

Robert Altman, ZeniMax’s chairman and chief executive, said in the statement: “Technology is the foundation of our business and we consider the theft of our intellectual property to be a serious matter.”

In its statement, Oculus said: “The heart of this case was about whether Oculus stole ZeniMax’s trade secrets, and the jury found decisively in our favor.”

Oculus said it plans to appeal the verdict and was “undeterred” in its efforts to bring virtual reality technology to consumers.

“Our commitment to the long-term success of VR remains the same, and the entire team will continue the work they’ve done since day one — developing VR technology that will transform the way people interact and communicate,” the Oculus statement said.

“We look forward to filing our appeal and eventually putting this litigation behind us.”

Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 for more than $2 billion and last year began selling the Rift headsets as part of the social network’s push into virtual reality.