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Oculus VR News | April 6, 2020

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Oculus VR Responds to ZeniMax Allegations: The Claims are 'False'

Oculus VR Responds to ZeniMax Allegations: The Claims are 'False'

Image courtesy of: Sergey Galyonkin - flickr

Staff Writer

This morning the battle over the rights to the Oculus Rift VR technology started heating up, as Oculus VR formally responded directly against ZeniMax’s recent claims that former employer and co-founder of id Software, John Carmack had stolen key intellectual property (IP), and took it to Oculus while still a ZeniMax employee.

Carmack, best known for his contributions to titles such as Doom, Quake, and Wolfenstein 3D—joined the Oculus team in August 2013 as chief technical officer (CTO) and officially resigned from the ZeniMax-owned id Software game studio he created that November.

Oculus expressed in a statement via e-mail it is “disappointed but not surprised” by ZeniMax’s actions, and “will prove that all of its [ZeniMax’s] claims are false.”

Below are a “few key points” provided by Oculus to clarify against the allegations made by ZeniMax:

  • There is not a line of Zenimax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products.
  • John Carmack did not take any intellectual property from Zenimax.
  • Zenimax has misstated the purposes and language of the Zenimax non-disclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey signed.
  • A key reason that John permanently left Zenimax in August of 2013 was that Zenimax prevented John from working on VR, and stopped investing in VR games across the company.
  • Zenimax canceled VR support for Doom 3 BFG when Oculus refused Zenimax’s demands for a non-dilutable equity stake in Oculus.
  • Zenimax did not pursue claims against Oculus for IP or technology, Zenimax has never contributed any IP or technology to Oculus, and only after the Facebook deal was announced has Zenimax now made these claims through its lawyers.
  • Despite the fact that the full source code for the Oculus SDK is available online (developer.oculusvr.com), Zenimax has never identified any ‘stolen’ code or technology.

It seems both sides are ready and willing to fight this one out. However, the timing of ZeniMax pursing and enforcing these claims ironically, comes shortly a month after the Facebook deal to purchase Oculus for $2 billion was announced. We will see how far this battle goes.

Stay tuned, as this story continues to develop.