It would seem John Carmack’s departure from id to serve as chief technical officer at Oculus wasn’t all that amicable—id parent company ZeniMax is seeking legal action against Rift developer, the Wall Street Journal reports.
ZeniMax is claiming ownership of technology researched and developed by Carmack while still employed at id. According to ZeniMax, when Carmack contactedOculus founder in 2012, Luckey sent him one of the Rift’s prototypes. Carmack, while at id, allegedly further developed the technology.
“ZeniMax confirms it recently sent formal notice of its legal rights to Oculus concerning its ownership of key technology used by Oculus to develop and market the Oculus Rift,” ZeniMax said in a prepared statement. “ZeniMax’s technology may not be licensed, transferred or sold without ZeniMax Media’s approval. ZeniMax’s intellectual property rights arise by reason of extensive VR research and development works done over a number of years by John Carmack while a ZeniMax employee, and others. ZeniMax provided necessary VR technology and other valuable assistance to Palmer Luckey and other Oculus employees in 2012 and 2013 to make the Oculus Rift a viable VR product, superior to other VR market offerings.”
“The proprietary technology and know-how Mr. Carmack developed when he was a ZeniMax employee, and used by Oculus, are owned by ZeniMax,” continues ZeniMax’s statement. “Well before the Facebook transaction was announced, Mr. Luckey acknowledged in writing ZeniMax’s legal ownership of this intellectual property. It was further agreed that Mr. Luckey would not disclose this technology to third persons without approval. Oculus has used and exploited ZeniMax’s technology and intellectual property without authorization, compensation or credit to ZeniMax. ZeniMax and Oculus previously attempted to reach an agreement whereby ZeniMax would be compensated for its intellectual property through equity ownership in Oculus but were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution. ZeniMax believes it is necessary to address these matters now and will take the necessary action to protect its interests.”
Carmack took to Twitter earlier today saying:
No work I have ever done has been patented. Zenimax owns the code that I wrote, but they don’t own VR.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) May 1, 2014