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[Update] Oculus Responds To Zenimax And Id Officially Filing Suit

by Kyle Hilliard on May 21, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Update: Oculus has offered a statement regarding the legal action taken against it by Zenimax and Id Software.

Here's the official statement from Oculus Rift:

The lawsuit filed by ZeniMax has no merit whatsoever. As we have previously said, ZeniMax did not contribute to any Oculus technology. Oculus will defend these claims vigorously.

 

Original Story:

After issuing claims that John Carmack misappropriated technology from Zenimax and Id Software to take to Oculus Rift, the publisher and developer have moved forward and filed suit.

Carmack and Oculus Rift responded to the claim, the latter offering a bullet-point list refuting the claims. Zenimax and Id Software have decided to move forward with a lawsuit. In a press release announcing the lawsuit, Zenimax and Id writes it is filing suit against Oculus Rift for, "illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, and infringing ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks." Claims of breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition are also being brought forward.

The statement also says that attempts to resolve the matter amicably have been unsuccessful, specifically calling out Oculus Rift's statement that, “Zenimax has never contributed IP or technology to Oculus.”

Here is the full text outlining the nature of the action in Zenimax and Id's filed suit:

Under a binding Non-Disclosure Agreement, ZeniMax provided Defendants with access to intellectual property developed by ZeniMax after years of research and investment. This valuable intellectual property included copyrighted computer code, trade secret information, and technical know-how. The Non-Disclosure Agreement expressly provides that ZeniMax’s intellectual property is confidential, owned exclusively by ZeniMax, and cannot be disclosed to or used by any third parties without ZeniMax’s prior written approval. Defendants have wrongfully taken that ZeniMax intellectual property and commercially exploited it for their own gain. Defendants now stand to realize billions of dollars in value from ZeniMax’s intellectual property. Defendants never obtained a license for the use of ZeniMax’s property, nor any right to sell or transfer it to third parties. By this action, ZeniMax seeks damages that will fairly and fully compensate it for Defendants’ infringement and misappropriation of its intellectual property. Without this relief, Defendants will continue to profit unjustly.

You can see the full press release by heading to page two. You can also download the full, legal complaint document here.

Zenimax is declining to provide any additional statements at the moment, following the release of this press release. We've reached out to Oculus for a statement and will update if and when we receive a statement or response.

 

Our Take
This is a complicated lawsuit, and one that is unlikely to disappear anytime soon. Both are powerful companies (especially after Oculus' recent acquisition), and both appear to have substantial, but competing claims.

ZENIMAX MEDIA INC. AND ID SOFTWARE LLC FILE SUIT AGAINST OCULUS VR, INC. AND ITS FOUNDER, PALMER LUCKEY

May 21, 2014 (Rockville, MD) -- ZeniMax Media Inc. and its subsidiary, id Software LLC, filed suit today against Oculus VR, Inc. and its founder, Palmer Luckey, for illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, and infringing ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks. ZeniMax is also asserting claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition against the defendants. The suit was filed in federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

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. Nevertheless, the defendants refused all requests from ZeniMax for reasonable compensation and continue to use ZeniMax’s intellectual property without authorization.

All efforts by ZeniMax to resolve this matter amicably have been unsuccessful. Oculus has recently issued a public statement remarkably claiming that “ZeniMax has never contributed IP or technology to Oculus.” Meanwhile, Luckey has held himself out to the public as the visionary developer of virtual reality technology, when in fact the key technology Luckey used to establish Oculus was developed by ZeniMax.

“Intellectual property forms the foundation of our business,” said Robert Altman, Chairman & 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.”

"ZeniMax and id Software take their intellectual property rights seriously," said P. Anthony Sammi, a Partner of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP which represents ZeniMax and id in this matter. "We now look to the federal courts and will pursue all appropriate measures available under the law to rectify defendants’ egregious conduct," he added.