Today, ZeniMax Media (the parent company of Fallout and Elder Scrolls developer, Bethesda) filed a lawsuit against Oculus VR accusing it of “wrongfully taking” the firm’s intellectual property.
The suit states 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.
The suit also points out that the new tech was shown off at E3 in 2012 by ZeniMax employees who also arranged those demonstrations with industry and traditional media outlets. Based on this attention and the work of Carmack, according to the suit, the headset received a lot of acclaim and attention.
ZeniMax’s complaint ends by alleging several counts of misconduct, including:
- Common law misappropriation of trade secrets, which encompasses both the use of those secrets and Oculus’ hiring of ZeniMax employees
- Copyright infringement against all defendants, pertaining to Oculus VR’s use of Doom 3: BFG Edition without permission
- Breach of contract against all defendants, encompassing Luckey’s use and disclosure of proprietary information under a nondisclosure agreement (NDA)
- Unfair competition against Oculus, because Oculus VR breached the terms of the NDA, took ZeniMax’s intellectually property and used it for its own gain without obtaining a license to use the technology or information, thereby depriving ZeniMax of the opportunity to realize gains from its technology
- Unjust enrichment against all defendants, who “refuse to compensate ZeniMax” for its contributions and also gained access to confidential information by hiring ZeniMax employees
- Trademark infringement, for Oculus VR’s use of trademarked materials, including Doom, Rage and Skyrim
- False designation against all defendants, because Oculus VR’s products are “likely” to imply the mistaken belief that they come from or are authorized by ZeniMax
“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.”
What do you think of all of this?