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Smorgasbord of issues for Facebook in huge litigation matter

Complicated?

Yes.

Capable of being parsed through by a jury, with resulting determinations regarding wrongdoing and civil damages?

That, too, as noted by a recent New York Times article discussing a notable case resolved last week in a Texas federal court.

The pronounced noteworthiness of the case owed prominently to two factors.

First, there was the high-dollar aspect of the litigation, with the plaintiff -- video games publisher ZeniMax Media -- seeking $4 billion in damages from Oculus, an arm of Facebook that makes an increasingly popular headset enabling users to immerse themselves in 3-D offerings.

And then there was the sheer cornucopia of material legal issues in play, most centrally claims of trade secret violations, intellectual property infringement, and the alleged breach of a confidentiality agreement by a ranking employee.

In a nutshell, ZeniMax accused Oculus of stealing valuable trade secrets from it when the latter formed and began using ZeniMax games with its Rift headset.

Although the jury waved off that claim, it did find merit in another ZeniMax contention, namely, that Oculus did infringe on the games maker's intellectual property rights. Moreover, jurors determined that that a founder of Oculus -- and previous key employee of ZeniMax -- breached a non-disclosure agreement he signed when working with the former company.

Facebook will now ante up for its transgressions, with Oculus being awarded $500 million in damages at the trial's conclusion last week.

Despite that sizable amount, Facebook executives seemed largely unconcerned by the outcome, with CEO Sheryl K. Sandberg calling the verdict "nonmaterial to our business."

It could have been worse. Although ZeniMax will gladly take the half billion awarded it, the company had (as noted above) sought $4 billion in damages.

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