ZeniMax pulls the trigger and files a lawsuit against Oculus VR

The war of words between Oculus VR and ZeniMax Media over the Oculus Rift virtual reality device is officially going to court. ZeniMax has now filed a lawsuit against both Oculus VR and its founder Palmer Luckey, claiming they are "illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, and infringing ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks."

The press release announcing the lawsuit does not name the person in the center of the controversy; Oculus VR's chief technology officer John Carmack, who was the co-founder of id Software. ZeniMax acquired id in 2009 and afterwards, Carmack began to experiment with VR technology using the Oculus Rift. Carmack decided to depart id in December to join Oculus VR full time; he claims he left because ZeniMax did not wish to have the Oculus Rift work with id's upcoming revival of its classic Doom game franchise.

Today, however, ZeniMax claims that the Oculus Rift uses "trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how" owned by them under a Non-Disclosure Agreement. Furthermore, ZeniMax contents that Oculus VR has refused any and all of its request for compensation. A few days ago, Oculus VR denied those allegations, stating, "There is not a line of ZeniMax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products." This new development could put a damper on Facebook's plans to acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion.

Source: ZeniMax Media via Business Wire | Image via Oculus VR

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22 Comments

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Carmack isn;t a stupid man, far from it. He's been in the industry for longer than i've been in long trousers. I'm pretty sure he knew what he was doing when he took up the position at Occulus. I of course, have no proof but i'd find it very weird if he was doing something suspect and thought he'd get away with it.

I'm going to call this a petty and opportunistic move until proven otherwise. I'm quite sure Carmack knew what he was doing while working at both companies and avoided dragging any intellectual property of ZeniMax with him in the transition.

Skim read the legal document. It's a massive vase of cocks. They pick and choose when to say it was Carmack doing something.. or "Zenimax" doing it. It's a pretty irritating read, sensationalist and unsubstantiated verbal urination.

They will get their settlement too, trolls.

DarkyDan said,
Skim read the legal document. It's a massive vase of cocks. They pick and choose when to say it was Carmack doing something.. or "Zenimax" doing it. It's a pretty irritating read, sensationalist and unsubstantiated verbal urination.

They will get their settlement too, trolls.


It is pretty standard in the Tech industry that employment contracts include a clause that says everything you invent while employed with company X is the property of company X. Carmack's contract apparently includes such a clause so legally there really is no distinction between what Carmack did (while employed at Zenimax) and what Zenimax did (really, a company can't do ANYTHING, its employees do everything on it's behalf and Carmack was their employee). It doesn't even matter if he did it all at home (which he didn't anyway, he did do at least some at their offices using their equipment but strictly speaking that's not required). Even back in the pre-Apple days these things were standard fair. If you watch "Pirates of Silicon Valley" it even has Waz going to HP (his employer at the time) seeing if they wanted to market the first "Apple" because he invented it while employed by them. HP declined, freeing him to pursue it. Waz then resigned from HP and with Steve Jobs formed Apple. I'm not a big fan of Zenimax, I can't stand ESO (I think it ruins the Elder Scrolls brand), their suing of Mojang over the whole "Scrolls" thing was ridiculous, but they really do look to have a pretty solid case hear. I'm not saying they should win but they do appear to have enough to merit a trial and they were trying to negotiate equity prior to the Facebook deal so it isn't JUST a post-Facebook money grab.

They do have a case, a pretty good one actually. The only issue I have with it is that just now they are deciding to go through with it, instead of, you know, before Oculus had billions of dollars.

There is protecting your I.P. and then there is this.

astropheed said,
They do have a case, a pretty good one actually. The only issue I have with it is that just now they are deciding to go through with it, instead of, you know, before Oculus had billions of dollars.

There is protecting your I.P. and then there is this.


They have been trying to negotiate long before the FB-OR deal...so your point is invalid.

Odd because the story doesn't mention that. Do you have proof of this? I remember reading about this maybe a week ago but that was well after the Facebook deal.

Crimson Rain said,

They have been trying to negotiate long before the FB-OR deal...so your point is invalid.

Even though you could be correct, it would have been nice if you could have pointed it out politely.

MikeChipshop said,

Even though you could be correct, it would have been nice if you could have pointed it out politely.


My reply is as polite as his post.

I don't like big companies trying to bully small ones but accusing someone without any good reason is not good. It hasn't been long since FB-OR deal and given that only now Zenimax has filed suit, anyone who thought this thru can assume they did try to talk first let alone all the articles in various sites specifically mentioning that zenimax has been trying to negotiate long before this.

Crimson Rain said,

My reply is as polite as his post.

I don't like big companies trying to bully small ones but accusing someone without any good reason is not good. It hasn't been long since FB-OR deal and given that only now Zenimax has filed suit, anyone who thought this thru can assume they did try to talk first let alone all the articles in various sites specifically mentioning that zenimax has been trying to negotiate long before this.

So you should have written that in reply in the first place, instead of "your point is invalid". Not trying to be a dick here but i'm getting pretty tired of some of the attitudes around here, so sorry if you got caught up in it.

Crimson Rain said,

given that only now Zenimax has filed suit, anyone who thought this thru can assume they did try to talk first

Ok, so you have no proof. Gotcha.

astropheed said,

Ok, so you have no proof. Gotcha.


or may be read the full sentence?


let alone all the articles in various sites specifically mentioning that zenimax has been trying to negotiate long before this.

MikeChipshop said,

So you should have written that in reply in the first place, instead of "your point is invalid". Not trying to be a dick here but i'm getting pretty tired of some of the attitudes around here, so sorry if you got caught up in it.


Yeah, I get it but just read +astropheed's reply above and you'll understand why I didn't bother to be polite.

You didn't bother being polite because you can foresee my future response? Sorry if you thought I was being rude.

I don't think them 'being in talks' is enough merit to conclude anything. Perhaps it does. All I was doing was giving my opinion on what it appears like, I should research more before posting next time. Have a good day.

Before people starts the usual complaints against "bullying," Zenimax does make enough compelling claims that they deserved a proper hearing.

Crimson Rain said,
Before people starts the usual complaints against "bullying," Zenimax does make enough compelling claims that they deserved a proper hearing.

Its like if somebody works for Coca Cola then later, decides to work for Pepsi while he's still working for Coca Cola.

Carmack is in a big pinch.