ZeniMax sues Oculus VR, claiming the company used their trade secrets to develop the Oculus Rift VR headset.
ZeniMax Media, the parent company of Skyrim’s Bethesda, is suing virtual reality innovator Oculus VR and its founder Palmer Luckey. The lawsuit revolves around the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that ZeniMax claims is infringing on their copyrights and trademarks (click here to read the full ZeniMax Media press release).
It’s no secret that virtual reality is the next big thing in the video game industry. You may have remembered reading our earlier Skyrim Virtual Reality Is Here and VR Gaming Takes A Step Forward articles that explore the impact and future of VR gaming. One of the companies at the forefront of this next frontier is Oculus VR, an innovative startup that came to life during a 2012 Kickstarter campaign, and ended up being acquired by Facebook for $2 billion two years later. Yes — $2 billion dollars!
ZeniMax Media has long been known as a company serious about protecting its trademarks. Not only did the company have one of the more stringent Non-Disclosure Agreements for The Elder Scrolls Online during beta testing, they’ve gone after the developers of Minecraft for copyright infrigement of their Scrolls trademark and a Fallout fansite for offering free posters (you can read about the incident here).
The details surrounding the recent lawsuit against Oculus VR are a tad complicated, but here’s the simplified version:
- Besides Bethesda, ZeniMax Media is the parent company of game developer Id Software (the studio responsible for Doom and Quake).
- John Carmack, an Id Software/ZeniMax employee, was hired by Oculus VR in August 2013 and left Id Software later in November.
- Carmack helped Oculus VR founder, Palmer Luckey, develop the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset while still employed by ZeniMax.
- ZeniMax claims that Oculus VR illegally misappropriated “trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology”, and that the company has infringed upon “ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks.”
The Genius Behind The Tech?
Palmer Luckey is on this month’s cover of Wired magazine, and is being heralded as the genius behind virtual reality. The magazine is calling the Oculus Rift “the most transformative invention since the iPad.”
According to ZeniMax however:
Luckey has held himself out to the public as the visionary developer of virtual reality technology, when in fact the key technology Luckey used to establish Oculus was developed by ZeniMax.
For its part, Oculus VR denies the ZeniMax claims, and insists the lawsuit has no merit. The company intends to defend the claims “vigorously” and has characterized the claims as “ridiculous and absurd.”
Where do you stand regarding this latest ZeniMax lawsuit? Do you feel the two companies will be able to reach an amicable agreement, or will things have to be settled in court? How will all of this affect virtual reality gaming going forward? Share your opinions in the Speak Your Mind section below or over in the forums. Until next time fellow travelers!