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Zenimax Sues Oculus Over VR Tech 97

An anonymous reader writes "We had hints at this when Zenimax accused John Carmack of stealing 'proprietary technology and know-how,' but now it's official: Zenimax is suing Oculus VR over its virtual reality headset technology. 'According to a statement released by Zenimax, the lawsuit was filed over what it perceives to be the defendants' illegal exploitation of intellectual property, including "trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology" that was developed by Zenimax. Zenimax is also seeking to take Oculus and Luckey to task for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition. Zenimax continues to claim that it provided IP to Oculus under a legal agreement that it would be owned exclusively by ZeniMax and could not be "used, disclosed, or transferred to third parties without Zenimax's approval."'"
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Zenimax Sues Oculus Over VR Tech

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  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @04:41PM (#47059973)

    Looks like ZeniMax's argument is that since Carmack used ZeniMax equipment, that all work done by him is owned by ZeniMax.

    20. ZeniMax was established in 1999 as the parent company for the acquisition of Bethesda Softworks,

    23. In his employment agreement with ZeniMax, Carmack agreed to disclose toZeniMax inventions relating to the companyâ(TM)s current or anticipated research and developmentthat Carmack created during the term of his employment, and further agreed that all suchinventions would be the exclusive property of ZeniMax. Carmack also agreed that ZeniMaxwould also be the author and owner of any copyrightable works that he prepared within the scopeof his employment

    24. For years, dating back to the 1990s, ZeniMax and its affiliates had conducted research into virtual reality technology and headsets

    They might win this on a technicality aka, literalism.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 21, 2014 @05:11PM (#47060339)

    Zenimax are the morons who paid an absolute fortune to buy the failing iD software developer. At the time, all but the most moronic Carmack fan-boys knew that iD was in the most dire straits, with Carmack having burnt through an insane amount of money working on the dreadful idtech5 engine and Rage. iD was a joke for its complete inability to produce even a half-decent game design, and Carmack's last engine, the one behind the very mediocre Doom 3 game, had been a total failure (only one external use of the licence- Prey).

    After buying iD, Zenimax allowed Bethesda (their gaming arm) to give Caramck and the other iD head honchos another small fortune to create two massive internal iD teams. To date, the sum total of output from these two teams (now down-sized to a one smaller unified team) has been Rage (the same game iD had spent years on BEFORE being bought out). They didn't even port idtech5 to directX (hence the dreadful problems the current Wolfenstein game is having running on current PCs). Even Doom 4 actually made NEGATIVE progress (so the game is currently less progressed than when iD was bought out). .

    Carmack was seen as part of the 'problem', and Zenimax was clearly happy to have him 'sod off' to Oculus VR while still under contract.

    As Carmack now 'proudly' (?) boasts, his time at Oculus VR, while under contract to Bethesda, gave Oculus VR nothing of value- and Carmack should know.

    Zenimax wants blood, and NOT because of their dishonestly stated events at Oculus VR. No, Zenimax is out for blood over having been 'conned' in the first place with the iD buy-out. Accept, as I said at the top, Zenimax wasn't conned but chose to buy a company every sane and informed person knew was worse than useless. Zenimax should have paid iD for exclusive rights to the gaming IP (Quake, Doom, Wolfenstein, ET multiplayer) and NOTHING ELSE. This way Bethesda could have found reliable third-part software houses to work on new versions of these games using the Unreal engine. iD would have gained a nice lump sum, and Zenimax would have started with a clean slate.

    Zenimax now attacks Oculus VR as a proxy, and this is the worst strategy imaginable. Caramack is open and honest, and very intelligent to boot. He will have given Zenimax's lawyers less than zero to work with. And this means Facebook will be extremely unlikely to want to settle (and Zenimax wants too large a pay-off anyway, to cover their iD loses). Indeed, I imagine Facebook is chomping at the bit to give Zenimax a very sound 'spanking' indeed.

    The courts in the USA consider such issues using contract law first, second and third. Zenimax has made it clear that the contracts that do exist refer to theoreticals that never actually came into play. And worse, Zenimax, of its own choosing, decided NOT to seek monetary remuneration of any significant amount for Carmack's work for Oculus VR, while under contract. The old "we'll do the work for you, and THEN we'll decide what to charge you" is an unlawful form of business practice in every first-world nation.

    Zenimax will have to show ACTUAL, registered IP of its ownership in current Oculus VR business, and that is impossible, because it doesn't exist. So Zenimax will fall back on the nebulous, non-legal argument that because "Carmack is a genius", and "Facebook bought Oculus VR for 2 billion after Carmack's involvement", Carmack's 'input' (whatever that may have been) was 'instrumental' and therefore since Carmack was Zenimax's wage-slave for at least some of this period, Zenimax is entitled to a giant slice of the pie- innit.

    The great thing about the USA is that you can find a lawyer willing to take your money to argue ANY nonsense in court, and keep doing so while the fees keep flowing. Sometimes a judge takes pity, and advises the suckers paying for the creep that they have literally ZERO chance of winning early on- but usually everyone involved with the system simply sits back and sucks on the teat of corporate idiocy.

    The shaming part? Zenimax could use its money inst

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.