Zenimax Sues Oculus

It's official: Zenimax is suing Oculus VR. Earlier in the month lawyers for the company sent letters to Oculus laying claim to the software technology that powers the virtual reality headset made by Oculus. Today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Zenimax Media and its subsidiary id Software filed a lawsuit against Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and his company over what it calls "unlawful exploitation and infringement of its intellectual property." The intellectual property in question is the software technology powering the device, developed by former id Software programmer and founder John Carmack.

"Intellectual property forms the foundation of our business," stated Zenimax CEO Robert Altman in a press release announcing the lawsuit. "We cannot ignore the unlawful exploitation of intellectual property that we develop and own, nor will we allow misappropriation and infringement to go unaddressed."

Zenimax says that it filed the lawsuit over what it perceives to be the defendants' illegal exploitation of intellectual property, including "trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology" that was developed by Zenimax – or by John Carmack while he was an employee of id Software. Zenimax is also suing Oculus and Luckey for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition.

Zenimax claims that it provided IP to Oculus under a legal agreement signed by Luckey agreeing that it would be owned exclusively by Zenimax and could not be "used, disclosed, or transferred to third parties without ZeniMax’s approval."

Zenimax sent legal notice to Oculus earlier this month alleging that it had some claim to the work John Carmack had contributed to Oculus VR while he was still employed at id Software, but Oculus and Carmack said days later that Zenimax's assertions were false.

You can check out the lawsuit here.

UPDATE: Via Kotaku, Oculus has issued a response.

"The lawsuit filed by ZeniMax has no merit whatsoever. As we have previously said, ZeniMax did not contribute to any Oculus technology. Oculus will defend these claims vigorously."

Source: Gamasutra

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  1. 0
    E. Zachary Knight says:

    Gamasutra has a really good article about this case pointing out five things you should understand about the case.


    1. Zenimax paints Palmer Luckey as an inexperienced college kid who'd be nowhere without John Carmack — and Zenimax
    2. Zenimax says it owns Carmack's work on VR
    3. Zenimax says Oculus' Kickstarter success was made on the back of Zenimax tech
    4. Zenimax says it wanted to invest in Oculus, but Oculus evaded talks
    5. Zenimax claims Oculus poached employees to access Zenimax trade secrets

    None of this is saying that Zenimax is right. It is just pointing out that these are Zenimaxes main arguments for why Oculus infringes its Intellectual Property.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
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  2. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Good for Occulus yes, but legal issues are not popularity contests.   Right now Occulus is a community darling (even with Facebook) and Zenimax is on the out, so opinion is generally with Occulus, but I am less sure which one is really 'in the right' here.

    This is a scenario we covered extensively in engineering ethics, and feelings about it tend to depend heavily on which perspective one is looking at it from….

  3. 0
    hellfire7885 says:

    Another good side for Occulus to be owned by Facebook, since before Zenimax would have killed Occulus VR and this killed the technologwith them/

  4. 0
    Ryan Rardin says:

    I doubt this will go anywhere. With Facebook owning Oculus, they'll have a lot more money for attorneys and legal fees than ZeniMax.

  5. 0
    grenaid says:

    I’m assuming that “intellectual property” here refers to patten law and not copyright or trademark law? I’m just not clear what the grounds for this are (and I really hate that catch-all IP term).

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