As Rift Trial Gets Underway, Oculus Slams ZeniMax Lawsuit As 'Wasteful'
As the court case gets underway between Oculus and ZeniMax Media regarding the alleged misappropriation of intellectual property, Oculus representatives are still firing public salvos across the bow of its opponent.
Today Oculus issued a statement to Upload VR, saying, "We’re eager to present our case in court. Oculus and its founders have invested a wealth of time and money in VR because we believe it can fundamentally transform the way people interact and communicate. We’re disappointed that another company is using wasteful litigation to attempt to take credit for technology that it did not have the vision, expertise, or patience to build.”
The dispute began shortly after id Software founder John Carmack left his studio in 2013, which is owned by ZeniMax Media, to pursue the creation of a virtual reality platform with Oculus. In the aftermath of his departure, ZeniMax filed a lawsuit hammering Oculus for "illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, and infringing ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks." It later added weight to these claims, saying that Oculus founder Palmer Luckey "lacked the training, expertise, resources, or know-how to create commercially viable VR technology, his computer programming skills were rudimentary, and he relied on ZeniMax's computer program code and games to demonstrate the prototype Rift."
Oculus issued a swift rebuttal, saying "There is not a line of ZeniMax code or any of its technology in any Oculus VR product. 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).” You can read the full legal complaint here.
ZeniMax is seeking $2 billion in damages, which is roughly what Facebook originally paid to acquire the VR firm. The trial is expected to last three weeks.
Cases like this rarely reach the courtroom, as companies typically prefer to settle these disputes out of court. But clearly neither side is interested in caving, so it's up to a jury to decide who is lying and who is telling the truth.