Way back in 2014, Bethesda parent ZeniMax filed a lawsuit against Oculus VR over claims that former employee John Carmack had stole intellectual property when he left the company, and that it was used to help develop the Oculus Rift. Now, the publisher has updated the suit with some new allegations.
First reported by Game Informer, the complaint now directly names id Software co-founder Carmack, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe, and parent company Facebook. Previously, only Oculus and its founder Palmer Luckey were named as defendants.
It also alleges that Carmack, Oculus' current chief technology officer, copied thousands of documents from a ZeniMax computer onto a USB storage device during his final days at the company.
“He never returned those files or all copies of them after his employment with ZeniMax was terminated. In addition, after Carmack's employment with ZeniMax was terminated, he returned to ZeniMax's premises to take a customized tool for developing VR Technology belonging to ZeniMax that itself is part of ZeniMax's VR technology.”
ZeniMax's suit also takes aim at Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. It alleges that the publisher, not Luckey, is the inventor of modern virtual reality, and suggests Iribe helped spread the tale of Luckey inventing VR in his parents’ garage.
Oculus, at Iribe’s direction, disseminated to the press the false and fanciful story that Luckey was the brilliant inventor of VR technology who had developed that technology in his parents’ garage. In fact, that story was utterly and completely false: 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. Luckey increasingly and falsely held himself out to the media and the public as the visionary developer of the Rift’s VR Technology, which had actually been developed by ZeniMax without any substantial contribution from Luckey.
Responding to the allegations, Oculus gave the following statement: “This complaint filed by ZeniMax is one-sided and conveys only ZeniMax’s interpretation of the story. We continue to believe this case has no merit, and we will address all of ZeniMax’s allegations in court.”
ZeniMax is seeking a trial by jury. It claims that as it invented much of the vital technology found inside the Rift, the company is entitled to a share of the $2 billion Facebook paid to acquire Oculus in 2014.