Facebook founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has been ordered by a court in Texas to provide testimony in a lawsuit between virtual reality company Oculus VR and Zenimax Media, after it was determined the social media entrepreneur has "unique knowledge" of details concerning Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus.
Facebook's legal team suggested that ZeniMax's request was not relevant or proper. It said, "Litigants often demand Mr. Zuckerberg's deposition, not to uncover discoverable information, but as a tactic to put pressure on Facebook and harass its most senior executive."
According to court files documented by PCWorld, however, US Magistrate Judge Paul Stickney ruled that Zuckerberg's deposition should go ahead. This means that the Facebook founder must take part in an oral interview that could be used in the case. This interview will be conducted outside of court.
In May last year, ZeniMax Media filed a lawsuit against Oculus and Facebook, claiming that it owns some of the intellectual property and code that is integral to the Oculus Rift virtual reality device.
Much of the argument hinges on Doom co-creator John Carmack. Carmack worked for ZeniMax from 2009, when the corporation acquired his studio Id Software for $405 million, until November 2013, when he resigned to join Oculus VR full-time.
But for several months before his departure from Zenimax, Carmack was effectively working for both companies. A year prior to this, he was also helping build a virtual reality version of Doom 3 for Oculus VR.
Throughout this period, ZeniMax argues, Carmack "improperly took ZeniMax's intellectual property with him to Oculus."
Facebook and Oculus have branded ZeniMax's arguments "ridiculous." They later said it was ZeniMax's attempt to rectify a "massive missed opportunity."
ZeniMax's complaint first appeared soon after Facebook purchased Oculus VR, valuating the start-up at $2 billion.
Disclosure: Leslie Moonves, chief executive of GameSpot parent company CBS, is a member of the ZeniMax board of directors.