Zenimax, Oculus legal battle continues


In another shot across the bow from Bethesda Softworks and id Software parent ZeniMax Media, the company has amended its filing in their 2-year-old lawsuit against Oculus VR. Originally, the filing claimed that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey’s original “crude prototype” of the Oculus Rift had been “literally transformed” by former id Software co-founder and current Oculus CTO John Carmack along with other ZeniMax employees. This was after the two had begun corresponding in 2012, with the technology used in the Oculus Rift being developed by Carmack while he was still working at id, making it the property of ZeniMax. Oculus had denied the allegations by stating that Luckey had actually created several functioning prototypes prior to Carmack’s departure and that no technology was taken.

Now, ZeniMax’s amended filing claims outright in no uncertain terms that Luckey’s statements were lies.

The amended filing stated that:

“Oculus needed to be able to explain how it came to own VR technology, but did not want to acknowledge that it had misappropriated, and was using, ZeniMax’s technology. Oculus, at [co-founder Brendan] Iribe’s direction, disseminated to the press the false and fanciful story that Luckey was the brilliant inventor of VR technology who had developed that technology in his parents’ garage.”

“In fact, that story was utterly and completely false: Luckey lacked the training, expertise, resources, or know-how to create commercially viable VR technology, his computer programming skills were rudimentary, and he relied on ZeniMax’s computer program code and games to demonstrate the prototype Rift, Nevertheless, this fraudulent tale was frequently reported in the media as fact. Luckey increasingly and falsely held himself out to the media and the public as the visionary developer of the Rift’s VR technology, which had actually been developed by ZeniMax without any substantial contribution from Luckey.”

The filing goes to claim that Oculus poached Carmack and other ZeniMax employees rather than pay to license the technology used by the Rift. The suit now claims that:

“During his last days at ZeniMax, he copied thousands of documents from a computer at ZeniMax to a USB storage device. He never returned those files or all copes of them after his employment with ZeniMax was terminated. In addition, after Carmack’s employment with ZeniMax was terminated, he returned to Zenimax’s premises to take a customized tool for developing VR technology belonging to ZeniMax that itself is part of ZeniMax’s VR technology.”

ZeniMax has also trained its sights on Facebook in the new filing stating that Facebook’s $2 billion acquisition of Oculus VR occurred “with full awareness of ZeniMax’s claims against Oculus and Luckey,” and that while Oculus had made the claim that it had “full title and ownership” of anything related to the Oculus Rift and the technology involved during the agreement, “those representations were false, Oculus, Luckey, Iribe, and Carmack knew them to be false, and Facebook knew or had reason to know that they were false.”

Oculus VR has released a statement in response, saying that “This complaint filed by ZeniMax is one-sided and conveys only ZeniMax’s interpretation of the story. We continue to believe this case has no merit, and we will address all of ZeniMax’s allegations in court.”

It looks like the lawsuit has hit the “terrible twos” stage of its life. Now with the involvement of social media giant Facebook in the conflict, there is a stage set for a clash of Titans between ZeniMax and Oculus VR, the people involved, and Facebook. One thing is for certain, this is a legal fight to the death and blood will be spilled.

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