John Carmack's former employer says he stole technology and used it in the Oculus Rift

Shawn Knight

Posts: 12,587   +124
Staff member
Oculus VR and Facebook may soon find themselves in hot water if claims from ZeniMax are accurate. The former employer of gaming legend and Oculus VR CTO John Carmack claims he stole intellectual property that ultimately helped the Oculus Rift...

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Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,281
The naughty boy. Give him a slap on the wrist and tell him not to do it again. Isn't it strange how people suddenly appear out of thin air or suddenly have embellished stories to tell once they catch a whiff of a big payout. No doubt the $2 bill. buyout from FB prompted this
 
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Dukenukemx

Posts: 71   +17
So John Carmack who was pretty much the guy who made ID's technology is now accused of using his or their technology for something other then their interests. Well, ain't that something.
 
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m4a4

Posts: 1,985   +1,822
TechSpot Elite
The naughty boy. Give him a slap on the wrist and tell him not to do it again. Isn't it strange how people suddenly appear out of thin air or suddenly have embellished stories to tell once they catch a whiff of a big payout. No doubt the $2 bill. buyout from FB prompted this
"According to sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, ZeniMax attempted to seek compensation around August 2012 but nothing was ever hammered out."
If you read the article, you'd know it doesn't have much to do with FB buying it out...
 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,659   +1,466
Might be tough to prove. Carmack carries this stuff around in his head. Sure, it may have been part of what he sold with id Software and then again it may have been developed while he was digging ditches for ZeniMax. However, it is his head and if it was carried out in that container, I think it should be hard to prove he 'stole' anything. We can consider an argument that this 'secret sauce stuff' is more than thought (like it was developed in a super low temp lab) - but I think if it is just algorithms and not blocks of code with a ZeniMax label, it is hard to prove. Since a huge amount of software up through Doom3 is GPL, I think ZeniMax may have to struggle to prove anything.
 

IAMTHESTIG

Posts: 1,868   +900
Hmm... I hope this doesn't negatively affect the Oculus Rift project. I'm really looking forward to being able to buy one of these things in the near future.
 
G

Guest

Well, if Zenimax (aka, from now on those evil lazy people) has the patents, legally Oculus is in trouble.
 

Skidmarksdeluxe

Posts: 8,645   +3,281
"According to sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, ZeniMax attempted to seek compensation around August 2012 but nothing was ever hammered out."
If you read the article, you'd know it doesn't have much to do with FB buying it out...
It sounded more like a half hearted attempt. Now that FB has bought them out it looks like they're coming out with all guns blazing. They smell a bigger payout.
 
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Puiu

Posts: 4,063   +2,599
Nothing was patented. they own nothing besides a few pieces of sotware that I'm sure carmack already removed from the oculus rift. He's been in this business for a long time, he knows what to do. Zenimax can't win this.
 

Chris Just

Posts: 32   +3
The naughty boy. Give him a slap on the wrist and tell him not to do it again. Isn't it strange how people suddenly appear out of thin air or suddenly have embellished stories to tell once they catch a whiff of a big payout. No doubt the $2 bill. buyout from FB prompted this
"According to sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal, ZeniMax attempted to seek compensation around August 2012 but nothing was ever hammered out."
If you read the article, you'd know it doesn't have much to do with FB buying it out...
Wrong Oculus VR was broke due to R&D with no product to sell to the masses and if sued early on it would have only closed them down, now with Facebook's trillions added to the kitty it's time to get payed.
 
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LNCPapa

Posts: 4,311   +567
TS Special Forces
If this causes my first real hope for true virtual reality for the masses I promise to start a boycott crusade against Zenimax. I've been waiting way too long for this to happen and it's much too close now to get stopped by litigation. Looking at the board for Zenimax it's not really surprising that this is happening:
  • Robert S. Trump (President, Trump Management, Inc.; brother of Donald Trump)[24]
 
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9Nails

Posts: 1,215   +177
So ZeniMax is the parent company of iD Software? I could see the complaint. Some software companies try to claim that they own your code, even if it was on a homebrew project. So ZeniMax doesn't own patents, and Carmak says, "Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax." I'm inclined to believe him, and I don't think ZeniMax is doing anything but casting their name in a bad light with gamers.
 
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G

Guest

[SIZE=4]Robert A. Altman (Chairman & CEO)[/SIZE]
Ernest Del (President)
Jerry Bruckheimer (Jerry Bruckheimer Films)
Michael Dominguez (Managing Director, Providence Equity Partners Inc.)
Leslie Moonves (President & CEO, CBS Corporation)
Cal Ripken, Jr (President & CEO, Ripken Baseball, Inc.)
Harry E. Sloan (Chairman, Silver Eagle Acquisition Corp; former Chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer).[23]
Robert S. Trump (President, Trump Management, Inc.; brother of Donald Trump)[24]

Damn, they really do right just to show the cool people in front of the camera, like carmack or the original maker of elder scroll (don't remember the name). So, my videogame expenses goes to those people?, creepy.
 
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G

Guest

Yes it does now have something to do with FB. It was not worth hammering out before FB.
 
G

Guest

When you move to a new developer job, the new employer is always going to make use of your previous experience, otherwise you would never work again.

Did John really steal intellectual property, or was it more a case of him taking ideas?
 
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G

Guest

So he didn't take ideas from their R&D, he simply got ideas from their R&D. It is a matter of keeping it in context. (Which some people posting here seem to have difficulty doing). As for copying actual code, that probably did not occur.
 
G

Guest

And yes, gosh-n-tarnation where's my jetpack? evil ford and cadillack put a stop to that too!
 
G

Guest

What I don't understand is how someone who is working on something that their former company don't support which results in them quitting over becomes in the former company their intellectual property.
 
G

Guest

Taking ideas? That is going to be real hard to prove in court. Even when you have a team of 10 developers sometimes none of them carry their weight at work. Sometimes only one may have major useful ideas. So who is to say that all the major ideas were not his. And if you leave with them. It was never the former companies property.
 

LNCPapa

Posts: 4,311   +567
TS Special Forces
A very interesting post from the folks at Oculus VR:
  • 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.