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Oculus Responds to ZeniMax IP Theft Claims, Defends John Carmack

| 5 May 2014 14:47
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.
Disclosure(s): Oculus Rift hardware and games were provided to The Escapist by Oculus.
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