The stern words exchanged between ZeniMax and Oculus VR have reached their inevitable legal conclusion, with the former filing a lawsuit against the latter. ZeniMax (parent company of Bethesda and former employer of now-Oculus employee John Carmack) is accusing Oculus VR and founder Palmer Luckey of “illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, and infringing ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks.”
ZeniMax is also claiming breach of contract, unjust enrichment and unfair competition, just for good measure.
You know what, I’m just going to list the full set of claims ZeniMax is making in its press release:
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.
That last part is quite a statement. It’s claiming that technology vital to Oculus Rift was developed and owned by ZeniMax. Whether they’re taking the angle that anything created by John Carmack while he was a ZeniMax employee belongs to ZeniMax or have some other evidence to use, is not yet clear.
All along, ZeniMax appear to have been fishing for compensation payments following Oculus’ purchase by Facebook for a reported $2 billion USD. As this has not been forthcoming, the company has pursued legal action.
Oculus’ stance is that “ZeniMax has never contributed IP or technology to Oculus.”
The lawsuit was filed in federal court, in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas.