Oculus VR Co-Founder and creator of Oculus Rift Palmer Luckey has won his court case accusing him of IP theft, lamenting few reported on it.
Luckey left parent company Facebook in March 2017. Later speculation started that he had been fired for donating to a “pro-Trump political organization” that created memes in support of Donald Trump (later becoming the 45th President of the United States in 2016) and against Hillary Clinton.
Now, Luckey has revealed on Twitter (as reported by Law360, and Law Street Media), that he had been cleared of allegations of IP theft. Luckey had been accused of lying about his progress on designing a virtual reality headset when contracted by Total Recall Technologies (TRT), and then sold that technology to Facebook.
Luckey states that after two weeks in federal court, he successfully defended himself “from someone who tried to turn my willingness to help out a fellow (pre-Oculus) VR forum member into a billion-dollar payday.” Law Street Media report that while TRT had asked him to produce two prototypes, he was not under an exclusive obligation to deliver every prototype he made to them.
Further, TRT requested VR headsets for three-dimensional cameras; not for gaming. The case concluded with a civil jury ruling negative on the verdict form’s four questions (such as if Luckey breached his agreement, or if that breach cause TRT harm), and that Luckey’s consent to contract with TRT being obtained via fraud was unproven.
Luckey also lamented that (at this time of writing) no major outlet had reported on the “unanimous jury verdict.” “For 99.99% of even hardcore VR industry followers, this never happened” Luckey states. “Hundreds of stories were written when the lawsuit was filed, dozens more covered minutia of the case as it progressed.”
While initially stating “The verdict got a single paywalled legal newswire entry,” some Twitter users found the aforementioned Law Street Media report (which he subsequently retweeted). Luckey claims that even reporters specializing in technology news sitting in the court did not writer about the outcome of the case.
Luckey even claims there may be some form of news media collusion or blackout on covering the case as he won. “One can only conclude that the media apparatus around this case was only interested in reporting an outcome where Palmer/Facebook/Oculus lose.”
He further supports this claim, by the fact witnesses such as Oculus Consulting CTO John Carmack and Facebook Co-Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg were called for testimony. Carmack also expressed his belief of a bias in the reporting of the case.
“A lot of people aren’t really aware of how much implicit bias is involved in what you see reported,” Carmack tweeted. “Biased samples can still be valuable, but if you stick with the assumption that they are evenly distributed around ‘the truth’, your mental model will be pretty far off.”
Carmack also highlighted how the replies to his tweet marked as “may include offensive words or content” featured people agreeing that there is bias in media, and journalists could “lie by omission.”
If we entertain the idea that major news media would only wish to report on the case if Facebook or Luckey lost; they could have reported on the story with such a slant that would have portrayed the case’s outcome as a negative, imply that proceedings were dubious, or lie by omission as aforementioned.
Major news organizations have not been shy about reporting on Facebook’s failings, such as whistle-blower Frances Haugen (former Product Manager) releasing internal research and documents showing Facebook were aware of “toxic” problems of its social media on people, but were doing nothing about it. Nonetheless, some doubted her motives.
You can find more on our coverage on that in our coverage of Facebook changing its name (the company, not the social media platform), in efforts to be known for more than social media and its harms.
“The craziest part is that the media often continues to repeat the most offensively dishonest parts of the initial filing,” Luckey claims, “even long after the plaintiff amends them out of the complaint on the way to actual trial.”
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