You just knew this was coming
The ZeniMax vs. Oculus VR situation has escalated following comments from both sides about how intellectual property and key technology driving the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset may or may not have been worked on while John Carmack was still at ZeniMax-owned id Software prior to his departure to work at Oculus full time as chief technology officer.
Today, ZeniMax and id filed a suit against Oculus VR and founder Palmer Luckey for “illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, and infringing ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks. ZeniMax is also asserting claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition against the defendants.”
Had a feeling this was about to get messy after the recent back-and-forth. According to ZeniMax, “All efforts by ZeniMax to resolve this matter amicably have been unsuccessful.” Oculus VR hasn’t responded yet, but I’m expecting more comments in line with its prior statements.
In a press release, ZeniMax said “The suit arises from the defendants’ unlawful exploitation of intellectual property, including trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology that was developed by ZeniMax after years of research and investment. ZeniMax provided this valuable intellectual property to defendants under a binding Non-Disclosure Agreement that specifies such intellectual property is owned exclusively by ZeniMax and cannot be used, disclosed, or transferred to third parties without ZeniMax’s approval. ZeniMax’s intellectual property has provided the fundamental technology driving the Oculus Rift since its inception. Nevertheless, the defendants refused all requests from ZeniMax for reasonable compensation and continue to use ZeniMax’s intellectual property without authorization.
“All efforts by ZeniMax to resolve this matter amicably have been unsuccessful. Oculus has recently issued a public statement remarkably claiming that ‘ZeniMax has never contributed IP or technology to Oculus.’ Meanwhile, 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.”