Legals: Oculus VR Gets Nasty

Zenimax filing against John Carmack for stealing its IP

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Legals: Oculus VR Gets Nasty
Gaming legend (he's actually real) John Carmack brought us Doom with id Software. That company was snapped up by Zenimax. Carmack left and joined Oculus VR, makers of the Rift virtual reality headset. Zenimax has gone legal.

According to The Wall Street Journal (pay walled), Zenimax has issued legal notices against Carmack because, when he left he took,"“ZeniMax’s intellectual property with him to Oculus."

Engadget reports that, "ZeniMax confirms it recently sent formal notice of its legal rights to Oculus concerning its ownership of key technology used by Oculus to develop and market the Oculus Rift. ZeniMax's technology may not be licensed, transferred or sold without ZeniMax Media's approval.

"ZeniMax's intellectual property rights arise by reason of extensive VR research and development works done over a number of years by John Carmack while a ZeniMax employee, and others. ZeniMax provided necessary VR technology and other valuable assistance to Palmer Luckey and other Oculus employees in 2012 and 2013 to make the Oculus Rift a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings.

"The proprietary technology and know-how Mr. Carmack developed when he was a ZeniMax employee, and used by Oculus, are owned by ZeniMax. Well before the Facebook transaction was announced, Mr. Luckey acknowledged in writing ZeniMax's legal ownership of this intellectual property.

"It was further agreed that Mr. Luckey would not disclose this technology to third persons without approval. Oculus has used and exploited ZeniMax's technology and intellectual property without authorization, compensation or credit to ZeniMax. ZeniMax and Oculus previously attempted to reach an agreement whereby ZeniMax would be compensated for its intellectual property through equity ownership in Oculus but were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution. ZeniMax believes it is necessary to address these matters now and will take the necessary action to protect its interests."

For its part, Oculus VR (now owned by Facebook), that this whole thing is “unfortunate, but when there’s this type of transaction, people come out of the woodwork with ridiculous and absurd claims.”

“We intend to vigorously defend Oculus and its investors to the fullest extent."

We expect everybody to settle out of court in few years after the lawyers have taken their chunks.
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