U.S. lawsuit against founder of Facebook's Oculus can proceed, judge says

Nate Mitchell, co-Founder and vice president of product at Oculus, poses for a portrait in Hollywood, California September 24, 2015. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Part of a lawsuit can proceed against the founder of Facebook’s virtual reality glasses unit Oculus VR Inc, but a U.S. judge also dismissed several claims filed by another company which alleged the Oculus founder had passed off its confidential information as his own.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco ruled on Saturday that a breach of contract claim could proceed against Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. However, Alsup dismissed other civil claims brought by Total Recall Technologies, including fraud.

Representatives for Facebook, which acquired Oculus for $2 billion in 2014, as well as attorneys for Total Recall Technologies could not immediately be reached for comment.

Facebook’s Oculus acquisition was its first hardware deal, as the company sought a way into the fast-growing wearable devices arena.

Hawaii-based Total Recall Technologies said it hired Luckey in 2011 to build a prototype head-mounted display. Luckey signed a confidentiality agreement, according to the lawsuit filed last year.

In 2011 and 2012, Luckey received feedback and information to improve the design of the display, Total Recall claimed. It said Luckey used information he learned from his partnership when he launched a Kickstarter campaign for his own head-mounted display called the Oculus Rift, according to the lawsuit.

Luckey disputes the claims and calls the lawsuit “a brazen attempt to secure for itself a stake in Oculus VR’s recent multi-billion dollar acquisition by Facebook.”

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Total Recall Technologies vs. Palmer Luckey and Oculus VR, Inc., 15-2281.

Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia Osterman