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ZeniMax files lawsuit against Oculus VR over purported stolen propriety tech

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Posted on May 21, 2014 AT 01:30pm

ZeniMax Media today filed a suit against Oculus VR in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

According to a press statement released by ZeniMax, their suit is for “illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, and infringing ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks” as well as breach of contract, “unjust enrichment,” and “unfair competition against the defendants.”

ZeniMax asserts that they’ve tried to resolve the matter peacefully, behind the scenes, but those efforts “have been unsuccessful.”

“Intellectual property forms the foundation of our business,” ZeniMax chairman and CEO Robert Altman said in a prepared statement. “We cannot ignore the unlawful exploitation of intellectual property that we develop and own, nor will we allow misappropriation and infringement to go undressed.”

Like two parents fighting over the details of custody in a mess divorce that neighbors thought was amicable, ZeniMax claimed earlier this month—via the Wall Street Journal—that the relationship John Carmack forged with Oculus VR founder Luckey Palmer in 2012 resulted in “proprietary technology and know-how Mr. Carmack developed when he was a ZeniMax employee” being used to further the Oculus Rift’s development.

Five days later, the Rift developer issued a statement categorically denying all of ZeniMax’s claims, saying that “not a line of ZeniMax code or any of its technology” can be found in “any Oculus products.”

Carmack left ZeniMax and joined Oculus VR in full November 2013 after unsuccessfully trying to juggle VR development and his duties at ZeniMax-owned id Software. A statement from id studio director Tim Willits at the time suggested that Carmack’s departure was not a matter of contention.

Chris Holzworth, News Editor
Chris Holzworth has wanted to write about games all his life. He first cut his teeth writing for enthusiast sites such as RPGFan, and after writing for just about every other enthusiast website he could came across, wound up as EGM's east coast news correspondent (read: editorial intern) before relocating to LA to serve as news editor. You can follow his rants about storytelling on Twitter @manadrive.[Meet the rest of the crew]

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