Oculus Responds to ZeniMax IP Theft Claims, Defends John Carmack

Oculus Responds to ZeniMax IP Theft Claims, Defends John Carmack

Oculus Rift Developer Kit

Oculus says Carmack took no intellectual property when he left id Software to work on VR.

Oculus VR has released an official response to ZeniMax's claims that former employee John Carmack took intellectual property with him when he departed id Software last November.

"We are disappointed but not surprised by ZeniMax's actions and we will prove that all of its claims are false," said Oculus in a statement to The Escapist. The virtual reality company then went on to refute claims made by ZeniMax, specifically noting that Oculus wasn't using any code or technology owned by the games publisher.

Oculus is also accusing ZeniMax of "[misstating] the purposes and language of the ZeniMax non-disclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey signed," and says Carmack only left id Software and ZeniMax when the latter "...prevented John from working on VR, and stopped investing in VR games across the company."

Finally, Oculus claims that ZeniMax dropped its VR support plans for DOOM 3 BFG after "Oculus refused ZeniMax's demands for a non-dilutable equity stake in Oculus."

The Oculus response in its entirety can be read below.

The legal battle that's sure to follow (assuming a settlement isn't reached), will certainly shed additional light on Carmack's departure from id Software, and it will also be an employment, and IP legal battle for the ages (at least in our little video game sphere).

Based on the limited information and claims we've seen so far, who are you rooting for in this fight? Or are you happy to be indifferent until the dust settles? Let us know in the forums.

OCULUS RESPONSE
We are disappointed but not surprised by Zenimax's actions and we will prove that all of its claims are false. In the meantime, we would like to clarify a few key points:

  • There is not a line of Zenimax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products.
  • John Carmack did not take any intellectual property from Zenimax.
  • Zenimax has misstated the purposes and language of the Zenimax non-disclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey signed.
  • A key reason that John permanently left Zenimax in August of 2013 was that Zenimax prevented John from working on VR, and stopped investing in VR games across the company.
  • Zenimax canceled VR support for Doom 3 BFG when Oculus refused Zenimax's demands for a non-dilutable equity stake in Oculus.
  • Zenimax did not pursue claims against Oculus for IP or technology, Zenimax has never contributed any IP or technology to Oculus, and only after the Facebook deal was announced has Zenimax now made these claims through its lawyers.
  • Despite the fact that the full source code for the Oculus SDK is available online (developer.oculusvr.com), Zenimax has never identified any 'stolen' code or technology.

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Sounds like Zenimax is trying to pull an Activision and force a settlement.
Good grief did they pick the wrong legal target now that Facebook owns them.

I really do not understand Zenimax's endgame here.
What is their stake in all this? Suing for shares in Occulus Rift now that it's going places?
Well that sure isn't happening.

Zenimax didn't have any real stake in VR gaming before so any proof they offer is going to be questionable at best. (How does one steal code that was not developed? I'd wager that VR operating code isn't common to anything specific in Zenimax's non-VR game programming.)

Time for round 2 of this slapfight.

image

Should be fun.

Why can't Zenimax just play nice for once? I wanted to see official Oculus support for Skyrim.

Also, wasn't VR support the whole point of Doom3 BFG? Otherwise it's just an inferior version of Doom 3.

Unless Zenimax can step forward and identify exactly what was supposedly stolen, I simply cannot side with them. Though frankly I'm still disappointed SEGA didn't file a trademark infringement suit against them over the game Rage back in 2011; it clearly infringes on Sega's Streets of Rage trademark. But seriously, it's like Zenimax is intentionally aiming for bad publicity, looking for any excuse they can to file lawsuits against companies with loyal fan followings.

P.S. Thanks

this kind of makes the facebook acquisition make more sense, i wonder if the OR guys knew what was going to happen

I'll believe that Zenimax has a case when they offer some actual proof. Otherwise I find it difficult to believe it's anything other than some sour grapes and an attempt to sue just in case they have a case. Their legal department need to be fired.

And I find it laughable that they'd think Carmack would take any VR code that the company specifically produced. Why? How much work were they actually doing on VR that Carmack wasn't already doing with Oculus, and why would a bonified coding genius even want to steal Zenimax's code? The man can already code anything their companies can faster and more efficiently, and with a lot fewer bugs. It'd be like Stephen Hawking cheating on physics test by looking at George Bush's answers.

I'm with Oculus. And now that they have Facebook's bankaccount behind them they will not back down in fear of high lawyer fees either :)

Zenimax seems to be dragging their own name through the mud.

I'm going to have to say the same as most with "show us some proof," or as we used to say when I was a youngling, pics or it didn't happen.

Shamus hit it on the head in one of his articles,

You don't need a reason to sue, only money.

BeerTent:
Shamus hit it on the head in one of his articles,

You don't need a reason to sue, only money.

True, but that's not to say winning is nearly as easy. If they can prove their allegations, this will be a piece of cake. If, as I suspect, they're bluffing and hoping for a settlement, it'll fail, and they could even see themselves paying Facebook's legal costs for the suit.

P.S. Thanks

NuclearKangaroo:
this kind of makes the facebook acquisition make more sense, i wonder if the OR guys knew what was going to happen

The VR scene is so hot right now that lawsuits were (and still are) going to happen.

Sol_HSA:

NuclearKangaroo:
this kind of makes the facebook acquisition make more sense, i wonder if the OR guys knew what was going to happen

The VR scene is so hot right now that lawsuits were (and still are) going to happen.

yeah i can see the vultures flying overhead

i REALLY hate to admit it, but the facebook thing might not have been that terrible

and you know what? im CONVINCED, these guys knew this was going to happen, carmack commented, shortly after facebook bought oculus, that OR needed to partner with someone anyways, the only question was with whom and how deeply, sure he only mentioned sony as a threat back then, but i dont think its unexpected he also saw big companies trying to sue the fuck out of OR while its still vulnerable in its infancy

NuclearKangaroo:

Sol_HSA:
The VR scene is so hot right now that lawsuits were (and still are) going to happen.

yeah i can see the vultures flying overhead

i REALLY hate to admit it, but the facebook thing might not have been that terrible

Just wait until facebook starts suing other VR vendors =)

Sol_HSA:

NuclearKangaroo:

Sol_HSA:
The VR scene is so hot right now that lawsuits were (and still are) going to happen.

yeah i can see the vultures flying overhead

i REALLY hate to admit it, but the facebook thing might not have been that terrible

Just wait until facebook starts suing other VR vendors =)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41hpupcHrhI

ugh, lets hope that doesnt actually happen

i wouldve truthly prefered a valve approach to VR, but well, it seems the current market situation cant allow that

 

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