Oculus responds to Zenimax claims, 'not surprised' by accusation

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Last week, Bethesda and id parent company Zenimax made a bold claim, accusing John Carmack of stealing tech when he decided to leave id and work with Oculus VR permanently. "It was only through the concerted efforts of Mr. Carmack, using technology developed over many years at, and owned by, ZeniMax, that [Oculus founder] Mr. Luckey was able to transform his garage-based pipe dream into a working reality," lawyers stated.

This morning, Oculus has responded, denying all of Zenimax's claims, saying they are not "surprised" by their claims, suggesting that the company's recent multi-billion dollar acquisition by Facebook is the primary motivator for making legal threats.

"We are disappointed but not surprised by Zenimax's actions and we will prove that all of its claims are false," the company said in a statement. "There is not a line of Zenimax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products," they added.

In addition, the company says that by making a public claim about Carmack's transition from id to Oculus, "Zenimax has misstated the purposes and language of the Zenimax non-disclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey signed."

"A key reason that John permanently left Zenimax in August of 2013 was that Zenimax prevented John from working on VR, and stopped investing in VR games across the company," adding "Zenimax canceled VR support for Doom 3 BFG when Oculus refused Zenimax’s demands for a non-dilutable equity stake in Oculus." Carmack had made both these claims earlier this year.

And here's the zinger: "Zenimax did not pursue claims against Oculus for IP or technology, Zenimax has never contributed any IP or technology to Oculus, and only after the Facebook deal was announced has Zenimax now made these claims through its lawyers," adding "despite the fact that the full source code for the Oculus SDK is available online, Zenimax has never identified any 'stolen' code or technology."

According to Oculus, this is the only response they will send out for now. Given how much money is at stake, don't be surprised if the lawyers start hammering down some more.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    May 5, 2014 6:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Oculus responds to Zenimax claims, 'not surprised' by accusation.

    Last week, Bethesda and id parent company Zenimax made a bold claim, accusing John Carmack of stealing tech when he decided to leave id and work...

    • reply
      May 5, 2014 6:29 AM

      That was a pretty smart trial by public opinion move to make the statement about all of the code in the sdk being available all this time. But, yeah, they'll all lawyer up pretty good now. Except, I assume FB has the bigger cadre of lawyers.

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        May 5, 2014 6:35 AM

        I'm sure both Facebook and Zenimax have more than enough lawyers to drag this on for years.

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          May 5, 2014 6:58 AM

          I'm sure they will settle out of court for crazy facebook money

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      May 5, 2014 6:58 AM

      /slings mud

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      May 5, 2014 7:51 AM

      I am biased because I want to own an Oculus rift, but did Zenimax's lawer have to come out like a total fucking sleezeball and shit over everything with their opening argument here?

      'pipe dream' is the kind of language that screams butthurt as fuck. If they had said 'We were promised a lucrative relationship and we feel that Oculus has unfairly poached all our talent to cut us out of the mix' then i'd kinda see the point.

      But they're being smarmy worthless pricks, so FUCK EM.

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        May 5, 2014 7:56 AM

        The loss of Carmack has to be a huge blow. He's the main tech builder for the vast majority of id's market share that Zenimax bought on the downward slope.

        Now that the main asset is gone they are out that money unless they can pull some back via lawsuits.

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          May 5, 2014 8:40 AM

          especially since they spent god knows how much money switching a bunch of their games over to idTech.

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          May 5, 2014 8:56 AM

          But didn't Carmack say he was also done building new engine tech after Rage? Maybe that was just PR or he changed his mind. But, I coulda sworn I read an article where he said that he feels he's hit a wall until hardware tech moved way forward. Or did that happen with the incremental enhancements to DX11.x?

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            May 5, 2014 9:04 AM

            I'm sure Zenimax was hoping for a revival of id's engine technology to rival Unreal.

            Fat chance of that happening now that their best chance quit to do something else.

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            May 5, 2014 9:28 AM

            Or, maybe it was the engine licensing business. old-man's memory syndrome. zzzzzz

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            May 5, 2014 9:32 AM

            idTech 6 was to be his final major engine. idTech 5 is undergoing a transition to Physical Based Rendering which is mostly an asset and technical art transition which if I remember his QuakeCon talk, he was assisting and doing coordination for the art/tech teams as there wasn't any major engine work to be done.

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              May 5, 2014 11:28 AM

              Ya, this is what I was remembering.

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          May 5, 2014 1:58 PM

          Got it in one.

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        May 5, 2014 8:00 AM

        "But they're being smarmy worthless pricks, so FUCK EM."

        which has nothing to do with the law and how this will end. The whole point for Zenimax, now that we know there was talk about Zenimax investing in Occulus before the FB purchase, and because it didn't work out, cancelled Doom3:BFG for the Rift, and in turn, lost Caramack and a bunch of the team - is to make as much noise in public to get FB to buy them off. Scumbag move as that is, it's now business works. And I bet FB will just wash their hands of Zenimax with a payoff.

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          May 5, 2014 8:06 AM

          This is what I suspect as well. Facebook is publicly owned now, and most public companies will be pushed to settle by their shareholders. I'm sure this is what Zenimax is counting on. They just want a corporate payoff.

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          May 5, 2014 8:20 AM

          My 'fuck em' was purely my personal opinion of that company.

          We all know they're getting paid. Maybe the deserve it. Who knows. That's for the courts to figure out.

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          May 5, 2014 11:26 AM

          Mmmmm Caramack. Delicious.

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        May 5, 2014 9:07 AM

        " lawer have to come out like a total fucking sleezeball and shit over everything"

        that's what good lawers do; act like sleezeballs and shit over everything

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        May 5, 2014 1:59 PM

        i dunno, bitching about poaching talent is likely to get people even more mad at zenimax.

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      May 5, 2014 8:25 AM

      I don't understand why boards of directors for medium-high profile companies have members with no relation (and probably no understanding) of the company. According to the wiki page, CAL RIPKEN JR. is on the Zenimax board, as well as Donald Trump's brother. I would assume these guys are at least partially driving the litigation.

    • reply
      May 5, 2014 8:45 AM

      Oculus says ZeniMax canceled 'Doom 3' VR edition after being refused equity http://mobile.theverge.com/2014/5/5/5682892/oculus-responds-to-zenimax-intellectual-property-accusations

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      May 5, 2014 9:34 AM

      So I guess Carmack isn't going to speak at Quakecon.

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        May 5, 2014 10:49 AM

        I would be very surprised if this year isn't the last Quakecon

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          May 5, 2014 11:29 AM

          Ya know, that's a real possibility unless the company is able to pull off some pr magic to find another crowd drawing reason to attend.

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      May 5, 2014 9:45 AM

      Zenimax is a sore loser, they lost at keeping carmack. When you play the game of thrones you win or die.

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        May 5, 2014 11:18 AM

        If they go down and take Bethesda with them, I'm going to be pissed

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          May 5, 2014 1:56 PM

          Actually there's a bug in the scripting, while Bethesda is supposed to die along with Zenimax, the trigger doesn't get activated even if you don't have a buyer lined up. If you do want Bethesda to go under with the completion of the quest, you will need to drop to console and then type:
          set "00C36A11".BethesdaCollapse to 1

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            May 6, 2014 2:12 AM

            (golf clap)

            You may also need to target the Bethesda CEO by typing "prid 1f9334" followed by "ResetAI" for him to leave the Bethesda building and seek work elsewhere.

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      May 5, 2014 12:41 PM

      They wanted a part ownership of OculusVR for including 100 copies of their 8 year old game. Heh, anyone want to buy my used Honda Civic for $100 grand?

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      May 6, 2014 10:32 AM

      Zenimax translation:
      "We f#cked up and shelved our own VR Tech because we didn't think there was a market for it, someone else proved us wrong and because the US court system encourages adults and corporations to throw fits and fight like children we're going to embrace that spirit in hopes of a quick payout. Or... We might just pull and Apple and pay someone off to take over what we missed out on."