The lights are on
Last month, Bethesda Softworks and Id Software parent Zenimax filed suit against Oculus VR for misappropriation of intellectual property. Today, Oculus has filed its formal response with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
In the filing, Oculus asserts that Zenimax is attempting to take advantage of Facebook’s bid to purchase Oculus for $2 billion. The deal, which has been cleared to be finalized will wrap up some time this summer.
Oculus fully rebuts Zenimax’s claims that any of the latter’s software is present in the Oculus Rift. “There is not a line of ZeniMax code or any of its technology in any Oculus VR product,” the filing reads. "Indeed, ZeniMax had never identified any ‘stolen’ code or technology in any Oculus VR product, although ZeniMax had the full source code for the Oculus VR software for over a year and a half (having received it directly from Oculus VR well before it was even released publicly), and could have analyzed it online anytime (at developer.oculusvr.com).”
The filing also includes a number of Rift prototype images dating back to November 2010. Oculus denies most of Zenimax’s allegations, including that Zenimax software and hardware was used to create a Rift development kit and that Oculus lacked the know-how to create a viable virtual reality headset without Zenimax assistance.
Oculus also claims that prior to this lawsuit, Zenimax did not raise concerns about infringement. Additionally, Oculus asserts that in lieu of investment, Zenimax “demanded” a stake in Oculus VR in exchange for publicity garnered from demonstrations by Id co-founder and former employee John Carmack as well as showcases of the Rift with Doom 3: BFG Edition running on it.
The filing accuses Zenimax of purposely attempting to destroy Oculus’ credibility with investors and gamers through the dissemination of false information. “ZeniMax’s conduct described above has been misleading, unconscientious, unjust, and marked by a want of good faith,” reads the filing.
Oculus has made it clear it will not back down from the suit. The company has requested a jury trial to settle the matter. You can read the entire filing here.
Our TakeThis is going to be messy, as the courts will need to determine the viability of non-disclosure agreements, the role Carmack played in Oculus development while still at Id, and what (if any) Zenimax code exists within the Oculus Rift. This is headed for the courts unless one party backs down.