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Zenimax sues Oculus VR

Zenimax sues Oculus VR

The prototype for the Oculus Rift was according to Zenimax built on its technology from the inception of the device.

Zenimax, the owner of Id Software and Bethesda Game Studios, is taking virtual reality pioneer Oculus VR and its founder Palmer Luckey to court for using the company’s trade secrets and infringing copyright and trademarks.

In an announcement from the publisher and developer, Zenimax states that the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset has been built on Zenimax’s intellectual property since the device’s inception.

Zenimax has allegedly been investing ‘tens of millions of dollars’ into research and development of immersive technologies such as virtual reality for many years and according to Zenimax’s court filing, Oculus VR approached Zenimax for help in 2012 to help develop the Rift become a more viable device. The company subsequently received help from Id luminary John Carmack using prior research conducted by Zenimax.

The company apparently also provided support and code to Oculus VR under a nondisclosure agreement to help them out. Oculus then attempted to gain a license to use this code but did not accept Zenimax’s price tag for these rights.

As a result of this, Zenimax claims that Oculus VR attempted to gain the virtual reality expertise through the recruitment of some of its employees including Carmack, who joined Oculus VR last year. Several other Id Software developers have also flocked to Oculus since Carmack left.

’All efforts by Zenimax to resolve this matter amicably have been unsuccessful,’ reads a statement from Zenimax. ’Luckey has held himself out to the public as the visionary developer of virtual reality technology, when in fact the key technology Luckey used to establish Oculus was developed by Zenimax.’

In response to the claims, Oculus VR has issued a statement of its own to several outlets saying that the Zenimax lawsuit has no merit whatsoever.

’As we have previously said, Zenimax did not contribute to any Oculus technology. Oculus will defend these claims vigorously.’ said an Oculus VR spokesperson.

The Oculus Rift came to the public’s attention through a successful Kickstarter campaign and has attracted a lot of developer support from several studios. Earlier this year, the company was acquired by Facebook in a $2bn deal.

6 Comments

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siliconfanatic 22nd May 2014, 13:34 Quote
:) Patent trolls are always a good laugh :)

Call me sceptical but this seems to have even less of a backbone than some of the Apple "patent infringements" that've come up on the news.
Corky42 22nd May 2014, 13:45 Quote
Well Carmack did work for Zenimax when he demoed the prototype rift from the Bethesda booth at E3 in 2012.
Anfield 22nd May 2014, 21:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by siliconfanatic
:) Patent trolls are always a good laugh :)

Sorry, but former employees taking trade secrets with them to new employers causes massive financial damage to the old employer, so it is perfectly justified to sue Occulus into oblivion if there is even one grain of truth to the allegations.
Woodspoon 22nd May 2014, 22:05 Quote
I don't know why but but ever since FB brought Oculus it just seems like it's going to go the way of 3dtv, lots of very clever people involved, big marketing campaign's, huge push to make it "the next big thing", but I have a bad feeling that it's just going to die.
When it was a kickstarter it really seemed possible and that it would make a big change, but might just be me, something seems to have changed, couldn't say what or why, just seems like it's going to be another dead "next big thing" now.
Sincerely hope I'm wrong
siliconfanatic 22nd May 2014, 22:08 Quote
Hence why I called it a patent troll. Correct me if I'm going blind but I don't see a grain of truth to it.

And lets be perfectly honest here, some ( not all) patent lawsuits that've been flying around as of late have been questionable at best, laughable at worst.
Corky42 23rd May 2014, 08:33 Quote
I guess that's why the courts are getting involved, to try and unravel what happened and find out if there is a grain of truth in what Zenimax are claiming.
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