updated 06:12 pm EDT, Wed May 21, 2014
Suit seeks recompense in the wake of Facebook buyout deal
Parent company of the virtual reality headset Oculus Rift, and its founder Palmer Luckey, are being sued by ZeniMax. The suit codifies previous complaints by ZeniMax that Luckey and Oculus Chief Technology Officer John Carmack used ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology to build the Oculus Rift headset, and infringed ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks doing so.
Following a rough ZeniMax virtual reality prototype headset demo in June of 2012, Oculus Rift developer Palmer Luckey founded parent company Oculus, and started developing prototypes of what would become the Oculus Rift. ZeniMax began seeking compensation in August 2012 for intellectual property it claimed was being used without permission by Oculus. Negotiations were ongoing, with Oculus offering ZeniMax a small stake in the company, but no deal was reached.
Referring to the Facebook $2 billion acquisition offer, an Oculus spokesperson claims that "when there's this type of transaction, people come out of the woodwork with ridiculous and absurd claims. We intend to vigorously defend Oculus and its investors to the fullest extent."
Oculus and Carmack asserts that there are no lines of code from Zenimax or any technology from the company in Oculus products, nor was any IP taken by Carmack. Zenimax could have reviewed the entire source code of the Oculus SDK at any time, but has never identified any of the code as stolen, Oculus said.
"Intellectual property forms the foundation of our business," said Robert Altman, chairman and CEO of ZeniMax. "We cannot ignore the unlawful exploitation of intellectual property that we develop and own, nor will we allow misappropriation and infringement to go unaddressed."