Bethesda owner is suing Oculus VR over trade secrets

Wednesday, 21st 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.


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.



  1. Edo

    Dis gonna b gud…..

    #1 7 months ago
  2. silkvg247

    It’s a fucking sad world we live in when a company sues another company because they made an enormous technical advantage. Greed. Stifling, choking, vile greed.

    Why don’t they work with Occulus, in return getting some exclusive deal on their games in VR? Heaven forbid we as a species work together to advance technology.

    #2 7 months ago
  3. pukem0n

    oculus will fail anyways, good for the owner that he sold it to facebook for way too much money ^^

    #3 7 months ago
  4. Kabby

    The just want a cut of those Facebook megabucks. They didn’t give a shit before the buyout.

    #4 7 months ago
  5. Selderane

    @silkvg247 R&D costs money, lots of money. These aren’t hippies working a communal garden together. These are multi-billion dollar companies that chose to spend their resources on X instead of Y and any progress they made on X they own and ought to be compensated for.

    Were that not the case no one would develop anything. Why do you think so many people are pissed at China for stealing intellectual property? The West puts in the resources but they simply turns around and steal it and use it to compete against the very parties who own it.

    Now, none of this means ZeniMax isn’t trying to make a cash grab, but it does mean that their case should be taken seriously.

    Ownership of IP is the foundation of the free market. Without it we don’t have PlayStations, iPhones, video games, cars, anything. Because no one would invest the resources to develop and market those products if some jackass could come along and steal the fruits of their labor.

    You want to help the species? Spend a few years and most of your income developing some new groundbreaking product and release it to the world for free. Pay your bills then with the warm fuzzies you now have.

    #5 7 months ago
  6. Gekidami

    I know right! Like, people should be able to walk into your home and take what ever they want too. I’m sure as a species, you’re willing to share the things you’ve earned through your work.

    #6 7 months ago
  7. Joe Musashi

    @2 What percentage of the salary you earn have you willingly given away to colleagues that have taken credit for your work?


    #7 7 months ago
  8. Elvis71

    Will be interesting to see how this evolves ^^ It makes me wonder why ZeniMax did´nt do anything before the buyout from Facebook to tell the world that in fact they are the sole reason that we have the VR hype (lol). I mean, the hypetrain was running at least the last year and they never claimed that.

    #8 7 months ago
  9. Gheritt White


    #9 7 months ago
  10. polygem

    @Joe Musashi
    i actually do that all the time and vice versa. happens when you are working in the non profit sector. it actually works. you´re just not getting rich, that´s all.
    the economy needs a huge rethink in general.
    things are disgusting.
    capitalism is nothing but an organised crime. we are all the victims.

    #10 7 months ago
  11. Joe Musashi

    The events in this topic isn’t associated with a non-profit sector. Apples are not oranges.


    #11 7 months ago
  12. polygem

    sure but sometimes an apple is just as tasty as an orange.
    questioning established strategies for certain actions can often make a lot of sense, especially in business new strategies are needed.

    #12 7 months ago
  13. nollie4545

    I’ve got no sympathy for the Occulus lot now, sorry. Selling out to facebook of all people is the lowest of the lows. I hope Bethesda take them to the cleaners.

    #13 7 months ago

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