Luckey, Iribe take the stand in Oculus-Zenimax case

Judge has to intercede when exchanges between Luckey and Zenimax lawyer become heated.


The Oculus-Zenimax case has moved on to another day, this time with the VR company co-founder Palmer Luckey and CEO Brendan Iribe taking the stand.

Zenimax lawyers spent much of the day going after Luckey (via Polygon), trying to establish that the young entrepreneur could not have developed the Oculus without help from then-Zenimax employee and current Oculus CTO John Carmack. Part of the dispute revolves around an NDA Luckey signed in June 2012 with Zenimax on its proprietary information. To drive home the point, Zenimax lawyers introduced emails between Carmack and Luckey suggesting that Luckey had misrepresented who knew about the NDA, which happened around the time that Oculus was founded. Zenimax is using that as the basis for its conclusion that Luckey violated or deliberately tried to circumvent the NDA.

Apparently, Luckey got a bit flustered as he and the Zenimax lawyer started talking over each other, as Zenimax tried to show timeline conflicts and Luckey trying to offer technical explanations, prompting Judge Ed Kinceade to step in and essentitally tell the two to behave. The defense then produced its own evidence showing how Luckey learned VR from his own research, despite lack of a college degree, and that much of what was used in early development of the first prototype was public knowledge long before any initial contacts with Carmack. The fourth iteration of the prototype for Rift was out in public three months before Carmack first asked for info on the device.

Iribe also took the stand to discuss the Oculus software, the meaning of such terms as SDK, shaders and source code, and explain that the software had nothing from Zenimax or Carmack.

Iribe is expected to continue his testimony today, wrapping up before the afternoon. Previously, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on the stand to talk about the acquisition of Oculus, with Carmack offering his testimony last week.

Contributing Editor
Filed Under
From The Chatty
  • reply
    January 19, 2017 8:18 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Luckey, Iribe take the stand in Oculus-Zenimax case

    • reply
      January 19, 2017 8:38 AM

      I figure Luckey is the liability on the stand due to age and lack of filter.

      • reply
        January 19, 2017 9:07 AM

        I was gonna say. Didn't they effectively make him stop posting on the internet?

    • reply
      January 19, 2017 8:44 AM

      But did he take the stand in flip flops?

    • reply
      January 19, 2017 10:21 AM

      Sheesh, who do you root for here? Facebook and those asshats? Or Zenimax, and their trolls?

      I'm going to play my vive tonight, and maybe flip off my rift as I put it on.

      • reply
        January 19, 2017 2:50 PM

        All this bullshit was one of the reasons I bought a Vive and holy fuck was it ever the right idea

      • reply
        January 19, 2017 3:52 PM

        You root for the Carmack. Zenimax is butt hurt. Since day one my immediate impression of the case is that Zenimax is pissed that they lost knowledge when he left id, and that VR has a chance to actually take off unlike previous attempts.

        Facebook recognized, and took the risk to support Oculus.

        • reply
          January 19, 2017 6:47 PM

          Yeah but....

          Walled shitty gardens,
          locking out revive,
          weird data gathering in the driver (privacy concerns)
          Botched launches (my day one preorder of the touch delayed by three weeks yet they show up at bestbuy first)
          Timed exclusives (super hot burns a bit)

      • reply
        January 19, 2017 5:13 PM

        The truth. If there's something to the claim it should come out.

        Nothing they've shown or said so far amounts to much, but we'll see.

      • reply
        January 19, 2017 5:33 PM

        hope for mutually assured waste of time and money

      • reply
        January 19, 2017 7:21 PM

        Root for Shacknews

    • reply
      January 19, 2017 4:20 PM

      so whats the gist of this? carmack and a few others left id with VR research that they developed at zenimax and are now using it at oculus?

      I dont see how any employee agreement that says "anything you discover here is forever ours" is enforcable. like lets say einstein discovers e=mc^2 working for shacknews, and they have that agreement, does shacknews only get to use that knowledge? how can you say that, its so weird

      • reply
        January 19, 2017 5:01 PM

        I believe it's enforced and upheld all the time, depending on where you live. You may be thinking of noncompete clauses, which is more along the lines of "Once you stop working here, whether or not we fire you, you can't work in our industry for X years" which are basically outlawed in California.

        Read this article. Basically on day one of pretty much every job you get hired at you sign papers on day one that says yes indeed they do own whatever you come up with on the side unless you negotiate otherwise.

        So before you hire this developer, you agree, “hey listen, I know that inventing happens all the time, and it’s impossible to prove whether you invented something while you were sitting in the chair I supplied in the cubicle I supplied or not. I don’t just want to buy your 9:00-5:00 inventions. I want them all, and I’m going to pay you a nice salary to get them all,” and she agrees to that, so now you want to sign something that says that all her inventions belong to the company for as long as she is employed by the company.

        Zenimax is alleging that Carmack wanted id/Zenimax to get into VR, possibly acquire Oculus which was a nascent startup at the time. Zenimax said no. So Carmack helps Oculus anyway - to the point of copying stuff off of his hard drive to give to Oculus - and later bails to go work for Oculus full time.

        One complicating factor is that for the longest time id Software was a small independent company he was a co-owner of. He could probably do shit like this all the time before the acquisition, and probably did. Once a large company owns you the rules change.

        • reply
          January 19, 2017 5:26 PM

          the key I think is if he did indeed give source code to oculus. I believe carmack has said he has not brought over 1 line of code. And if he hasnt, I think he should be in the clear, I dont think a company should be able to own the thoughts in his head once he leaves

          like lets say he had an algorithm for reducing latency on head tracking, and he re-writes the code for oculus, is that still illegal? doesnt seem like it should be. I'd like to see if there are similar cases to this, because this is kind of unique

          • reply
            January 19, 2017 7:19 PM

            Well I think they're saying he was doing some of that shit while he worked for id still.

            Of course, complicating things is that window where he worked for both.

            I would think if he was helping Oculus on the side before he had any formal arrangements in place he could have screwed up. If they technically owned whatever he did in that time while he helped them and he then leaves and turns Oculus into a multi-billion dollar company then they may have a case.

            And all of that is a matter for the courts. Which is where we are.

Hello, Meet Lola