Bethesda owner is suing Oculus VR over trade secrets

Wednesday, 21 May 2014 20:26 GMT By Sherif Saed

ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Fallout and Elder Scrolls developer, Bethesda, has filed a lawsuit against Oculus VR today, accusing Oculus of “wrongfully taking” the firm’s intellectual property.

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A copy of the filing was obtained by Polygon, in it, ZeniMax is claiming that Oculus has “wrongfully taken ZeniMax['s] intellectual property and commercially exploited it for their own gain.” These include copyrighted computer code, trade secrets, and “technical know-how” relating to VR technology, according to the firm.

The suit also says that in April 2012, Palmer Luckey [Oculus founder], had befriended John Carmack, when Luckey’s VR prototype was a “primitive virtual reality headset” and was lacking “critical features,” something which ZeniMax claims was improved with the help of Carmack and other ZeniMax employees with new physical hardware components and special software.

Those improvements have “represented an enormous technical advance in the development of virtual reality entertainment,” the suit says. The improved prototype was then showed to Luckey under a non-disclosure agreement.

“Intellectual property forms the foundation of our business,” said Robert Altman, Chairman & CEO of ZeniMax. “We cannot ignore the unlawful exploitation of intellectual property that we develop and own, nor will we allow misappropriation and infringement to go unaddressed.”

This whole thing started at the beginning of the month when when ZeniMax accused John Carmack, of stealing tech belonging to the firm when he left for the VR pioneer, something which Oculus later said was not true.

John Carmack had left id Software [owned by ZeniMax] at the end of last year for Oculus, to become its chief technical officer, and cited ZeniMax’s halting of VR research as the reason for his departure.

We will update the story as it develops.

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