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ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech

Engadget has details from a WSJ.com article describing a formal notification sent to Oculus VR by ZeniMax declaring ZeniMax's belief that Oculus is using technology that belongs to them, saying it was developed by John Carmack before he left ZeniMax to join the virtual reality startup. ZeniMax gave them a statement saying: ""It's unfortunate, but when there's this type of transaction, people come out of the woodwork with ridiculous and absurd claims. We intend to vigorously defend Oculus and its investors to the fullest extent," and Carmack also replied via twitter, saying: "No work I have ever done has been patented. Zenimax owns the code that I wrote, but they don't own VR." They also have a statement from ZeniMax:

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'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. 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.

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53 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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53. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 12:45 HorrorScope
 
Cutter wrote on May 2, 2014, 01:22:
HorrorScope wrote on May 1, 2014, 19:05:
Cutter wrote on May 1, 2014, 15:29:
That's it in a nutshell. Regardless how people feel about Zenimax, if they're correct they very much have a very legal leg to stand on.

IMO you say that because you don't like the product to begin with and want it dead.

If either side is correct they have a leg to stand on. Goes without saying.

No I say it because it's factual. I have nothing against Occulus. I think that VR is a waste of time and money overall just like 3D.

Right you don't like the product. You have nothing against it other than considering a waste of time and money. Sort of like rubbing someone out and saying "It's nothing personal, just business".
 
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52. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 07:59 Kajetan
 
InBlack wrote on May 2, 2014, 03:40:
The whole world thinks America is populated by bullies and litigious bastards.
No, not America. Only the USA
 
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51. Interesting... May 2, 2014, 07:41 Darth Guybrush
 
I actually decided to NOT renew my subscription. After 30 days. Not a good sign.  
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==
Steam: Darth Guybrush
XBox Live: Darth Guybrush
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50. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 06:31 Agrajag
 
Well, there goes any enthusiasm I had for playing the newest Wolfenstein or Doom (if/when it ever shows up)... DIAF rotting corpse of id!  
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49. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 05:42 BicycleRepairMan
 
InBlack wrote on May 2, 2014, 03:40:
However this turns out, America loses. The whole world thinks America is populated by bullies and litigious bastards. PR disaster.
Pfft, its not an american exclusive, look at Samsung/apple, lawsuits left and right. Its a corporation thing, its what happens when businesses become big, non-personal working-for-the-shareholders giants with no other way to grow but to move money between eachother. No doubt US is the epicenter of all this, but still..
 
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48. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 03:40 InBlack
 
However this turns out, America loses. The whole world thinks America is populated by bullies and litigious bastards. PR disaster.  
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I have a nifty blue line!
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47. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 03:25 entr0py
 
LurkerLito wrote on May 2, 2014, 02:15:
This is actually a tricky situation. AFAIK Zenimax can only claim rights to code that was developed on their time or equipment/software. So as long as Carmack gave them notification he was working on the VR project, got their permission, but wrote all code on his own hardware using his software that never was used for ZeniMax software, then ZeniMax owns nothing. But if even one piece of software on his system like a text editior, license of windows, etc... was owned by ZeniMax then they can claim they own everything he wrote.

A similar thing happened to me once. They wanted me to sign a non compete and it had clauses about ownership of written software. I had to get permission in writing about another project I was doing on my off time. My other project never went anywhere, but it was funny, that my boss at the time, was more than happy to "lend me" software under his license so "you don't have to spend money" and buy your own compiler lol. If that project went anywhere and I used his compiler even once, he'd own all the rights to the project.

Bottom line is this is all going to come down to what ZeniMax and Carmack agreed to in advance, then when and on what Carmack developed the code on. Many people have work computers, and use them for personal stuff, but just remember, by doing so you are transferring all your rights to your company. Got a great idea for something, make sure you write it down on paper you own/bought, with a pen/pencil you bought or own, because if you used a scrap of paper from work, or even their pen, the company will have legal claim on it.

Yeah, it is actually an interesting case, and who's in the right depends entirely on facts none of us have access to.

But, what if Carmack is telling the truth that he took no software with him. For the sake of argument assume he worked on the project on company time and hardware with their blessing, and took only ideas and insights with him, then recreated the software from that experience. And assume Zenimax is left with half-complete software they don't know how to finish or implement. Are they entitled to anything? Or was it their own fault for authorizing a project they couldn't realize without Carmack?
 
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46. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 03:15 theyarecomingforyou
 
1badmf wrote on May 2, 2014, 00:06:
if there's gonna be a blue's SC group then count me in. already have my 315p and cutlass at the ready. also a golden ticket holder, so i'll probably be in one of the first waves of invites for the DFM. i'm sumdumfu over there btw.
Yeah, I'm a golden ticket holder too and should be able to get to play it quite early on. I've just got the Aurora.
 
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SteamID: theyarecomingforyou
Star Citizen: Blue's News
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45. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 02:15 LurkerLito
 
This is actually a tricky situation. AFAIK Zenimax can only claim rights to code that was developed on their time or equipment/software. So as long as Carmack gave them notification he was working on the VR project, got their permission, but wrote all code on his own hardware using his software that never was used for ZeniMax software, then ZeniMax owns nothing. But if even one piece of software on his system like a text editior, license of windows, etc... was owned by ZeniMax then they can claim they own everything he wrote.

A similar thing happened to me once. They wanted me to sign a non compete and it had clauses about ownership of written software. I had to get permission in writing about another project I was doing on my off time. My other project never went anywhere, but it was funny, that my boss at the time, was more than happy to "lend me" software under his license so "you don't have to spend money" and buy your own compiler lol. If that project went anywhere and I used his compiler even once, he'd own all the rights to the project.

Bottom line is this is all going to come down to what ZeniMax and Carmack agreed to in advance, then when and on what Carmack developed the code on. Many people have work computers, and use them for personal stuff, but just remember, by doing so you are transferring all your rights to your company. Got a great idea for something, make sure you write it down on paper you own/bought, with a pen/pencil you bought or own, because if you used a scrap of paper from work, or even their pen, the company will have legal claim on it.
 
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44. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 02:02 NKD
 
Facebook isn't going to be as easy to bully as Mojang, you litigious cunts.  
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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43. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 01:22 Cutter
 
HorrorScope wrote on May 1, 2014, 19:05:
Cutter wrote on May 1, 2014, 15:29:
That's it in a nutshell. Regardless how people feel about Zenimax, if they're correct they very much have a very legal leg to stand on.

IMO you say that because you don't like the product to begin with and want it dead.

If either side is correct they have a leg to stand on. Goes without saying.

No I say it because it's factual. I have nothing against Occulus. I think that VR is a waste of time and money overall just like 3D. I've worked under non-compete contracts and I know how binding they can be.
 
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"The South will boogie again!" - Disco Stu
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42. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 2, 2014, 00:06 1badmf
 
if there's gonna be a blue's SC group then count me in. already have my 315p and cutlass at the ready. also a golden ticket holder, so i'll probably be in one of the first waves of invites for the DFM. i'm sumdumfu over there btw.  
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41. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 1, 2014, 21:25 jdreyer
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on May 1, 2014, 19:54:
jdreyer wrote on May 1, 2014, 19:01:
theyarecomingforyou wrote on May 1, 2014, 16:43:
The evil Zenimax Empire strikes again.

That's cool. I'll sign up.
Cool. The more the merrier.

Now, I just have to remember my login and/or which email address this account is under...
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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40. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 1, 2014, 21:09 ViRGE
 
There is no way suing Oculus (and by extension Carmack) is going to end well...  
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39. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 1, 2014, 19:54 theyarecomingforyou
 
jdreyer wrote on May 1, 2014, 19:01:
theyarecomingforyou wrote on May 1, 2014, 16:43:
The evil Zenimax Empire strikes again.

That's cool. I'll sign up.
Cool. The more the merrier.
 
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SteamID: theyarecomingforyou
Star Citizen: Blue's News
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38. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 1, 2014, 19:20 Jensen
 
Quboid wrote on May 1, 2014, 16:35:
I don't think the patent thing is necessarily BS. Carmack does acknowledge that ZeniMax owns the code that he wrote, he's not trying to deflect from that. This suggests that he has written new code that has similarities to ZeniMax's old code, similarities that would be in breach of a patent had there been one.

Are Carmack and Oculus VR using code that he wrote while at ZeniMax, or are they using code that's very similar to code that he wrote at ZeniMax? I don't know what the legal position is if it's the later.
"Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax." https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/462000400996921344
 
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37. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 1, 2014, 19:05 HorrorScope
 
Cutter wrote on May 1, 2014, 15:29:
That's it in a nutshell. Regardless how people feel about Zenimax, if they're correct they very much have a very legal leg to stand on.

IMO you say that because you don't like the product to begin with and want it dead.

If either side is correct they have a leg to stand on. Goes without saying.

This comment was edited on May 1, 2014, 19:21.
 
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36. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 1, 2014, 19:01 jdreyer
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on May 1, 2014, 16:43:
The evil Zenimax Empire strikes again.

That's cool. I'll sign up.
 
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"It's just a bunch of mystic bovine scatology to me." - 1badmf
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35. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 1, 2014, 18:36 Creston
 
So THAT'S why Zenimax let Carmack go so easily...

 
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34. Re: ZeniMax vs. Oculus and Carmack on VR Tech May 1, 2014, 17:47 BicycleRepairMan
 
Nono, this was WAAAAY before quake live came along, I think it was in the Quakeworld days, before Quake 2 , and certainly before Q3A too. I believe they used some (badly) photoshopped screenshots of the NIN ammo boxes with a brand logo like coca cola on it (Any other BN'ers remember this??) Anyway it was hysterical and even caused some controversy at the time, like iD would ever sell out like that, not in a million years!

Mordecai Walfish wrote on May 1, 2014, 17:39:
BicycleRepairMan wrote on May 1, 2014, 17:23:
And yeah, this is kinda late, but I remember an aprils fool joke on a gaming site ages ago, where the gag was that id was gonna do product placements in Quake, and we all laughed our asses off at the idea.. now John f'in Carmack works for FACEBOOK. he actually works for facebook, and now hes being sued by a shitty, greedy company of laywers that bought id software before he left.. for FACEBOOK. Jesus Christ.
'

I believe that April Fools Joke's name was Quake Live. They did the in-game advertisement thing for a short while and it was a terrible failure.

To me the most interesting thing about this story is that Zenimax claims they have signed documents giving them ownership of this. I'm looking forward to hearing more details about the content of these documents.. Deal
 
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53 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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