ZeniMax Files Lawsuit Against Oculus VR And Founder

ZeniMax Files Lawsuit Against Oculus VR And Founder

The lawsuit doesn’t come as a tremendous surprise as lawyers from ZeniMax repeatedly sent letters to Oculus VR and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) that claiming that the popular Rift headset was infringing on its intellectual property. While I detailed their claims on May 1, 2014, here at ValueWalk, lets take a moment to review the claims.

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ZeniMax Media is the parent company of the video game publisher Bethesda Softworks and id Software which was responsible for Doom and other popular first-person shooters in addition to other titles.

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Outright theft?

In a statement released Wednesday, ZeniMax accuse Oculus VR and founder Palmer Luckey of “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.”

In the lawsuit, the company is claiming that there would be no Oculus Rift were it not for the work of ZeniMax.

“Intellectual property forms the foundation of our business,” said ZeniMax Chairman and CEO Robert Altman in a statement. “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 believes (and claims) that John Carmack, who joined Oculus as chief technology officer in August, improperly shared intellectual property. that became the heart of Rift, while Carmack was still employed at ZeniMax.

Oculus denies claims

After receiving the letters sent by ZeniMax earlier this month, Oculus denied any wrong doing.. “We are disappointed but not surprised by Zenimax’s actions and we will prove that all of its claims are false,” read a statement from Oculus.

“Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax,” Carmack has also gone on record as saying.


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While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala. <i>To contact Brendan or give him an exclusive, please contact him at theflask@gmail.com</i>
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  1. I have to agree the lawsuit by ZeniMax is not to be unexpected. The rift just proved to be worth $1B+ and will be worth many times that if exploited correctly. ZeniMax has a similar product it utterly failed to exploit and a line of contact through a former employee. Of course they are going to sue and hope they can convince a non technical jury that there is infringement of their so called intelectual property in the hopes of claiming a slice of that value.
    Of course if they did take code or patented tools the rift could quickly cease to exist which would spark a lawsuit from Facebook requiring the return of their $1B…
    The timing is highly suspect though. The Rift has been in the news for years and the employment history of the founders public knowledge the entire time. So the fact that they are only now bringing the lawsuit or even issuing a cease and desist letter makes the entire thing stink on ice. If I were on the Occulus side of that I would make sure the jury was aware of that. Then I’d file a counter suit for defemation as the fact that the suit was even presented could cost millions in reputation damages and investors dumping stock.

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