Bethesda bosses suing Oculus for VR theft

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Zenimax, the company that owns Bethesda and iD software is suing the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality purveyor Rift VR, saying it’s stolen the company’s work. that’s in addition to them stealing one of the gaming industry’s most prolific tech gurus, John Carmack.

They say that the VR company has misappropriated trade secrets, stolen code, breached contracts and just generally been a bunch of low-life, IP stealing jerks.

“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,” says the filing.

“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.”

That’s quite a bold claim. Zenimax claims then, that the only reason that the Rift even works is because of technology developed by Zenimax, which was then stolen. I find that hard to believe; if this was the case, then the whole suit should have been filed way back when Rift was trying to get the Oculus kickstarted – and not now when the whole thing’s coming to fruition.

It all seems like sour grapes after losing Carmack, though there may be far more to this than we, as outsiders, realise.

Last Updated: May 22, 2014

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