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Zenimax officially sues Oculus over virtual reality tech

Zenimax officially sues Oculus over virtual reality tech

May 21, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Zenimax Media and its subsidiary id Software filed a lawsuit in federal court today against Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and his company over what it claims is unlawful exploitation and infringement of its intellectual property.

"Intellectual property forms the foundation of our business," stated Zenimax CEO Robert Altman in a press release announcing the suit, which was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

"We cannot ignore the unlawful exploitation of intellectual property that we develop and own, nor will we allow misappropriation and infringement to go unaddressed."

According to a statement released by Zenimax, the lawsuit was filed over what it perceives to be the defendants' illegal exploitation of intellectual property, including "trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology" that was developed by Zenimax.

Zenimax is also seeking to take Oculus and Luckey to task for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition.

Zenimax continues to claim that it provided IP to Oculus under a legal agreement that it would be owned exclusively by ZeniMax and could not be "used, disclosed, or transferred to third parties without Zenimax's approval."

The company sent legal notice to Oculus earlier this month alleging that it had some claim to the work John Carmack had contributed to Oculus VR while he was still employed at id Software. Oculus fired back a few days later, essentially claiming that everything ZeniMax had asserted was false.

Now, Zenimax is upping the ante by actually taking the case to court.

"Zenimax and id Software take their intellectual property rights seriously," stated P. Anthony Sammi, a partner of the legal firm which represents Zenimax and id in the case. "We now look to the federal courts and will pursue all appropriate measures available under the law to rectify defendants' egregious conduct."

When reached for comment, Zenimax declined to comment further on the lawsuit.

UPDATE: An Oculus representative provided the following statement to Gamasutra in the wake of today's news:

"The lawsuit filed by Zenimax has no merit whatsoever. As we have previously said, Zenimax did not contribute to any Oculus technology. Oculus will defend these claims vigorously."

We've gone ahead and highlighted some of the notable points of Zenimax's lawsuit against Oculus in a separate article.

We've also taken the liberty of publishing the full legal complaint filed by Zenimax below, in which Luckey is cast as a "video game enthusiast" with a "crude prototype" that Zenimax employees "literally adding physical hardware components and developing specialized software for its operation."

"Throughout 2012, Oculus and Luckey lacked the necessary expertise and technical know-how to create a viable virtual reality headset," alleges Zenimax. "In the months following E3 [2012], Oculus and Luckey sought that expertise and know-how from Zenimax. Without it, there would not have been a viable Rift product."

ZeniMax v Oculus Complaint_As Filed_21-May-2014

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