John Carmack Suing Zenimax For $22.5 Million Over Id Software Sale

The suit has nothing to do with the recent rift between the two in the Oculus court battle.


In what is apparently not a tit-for-tat move, Oculus CTO John Carmack has filed a $22.5 million suit against Zenimax Media for money not paid to him when Zenimax acquired Carmack's former company, game developer id Software, back in 2009.

The suit, filed in the Northern District of Texas, alleges that Zenimax paid $150 million for id, and that Carmack as majority shareholder received $45.1 million. Half was converted in Zenimax shares, which he received. However, Carmack now says that Zenimax has refused to pay the second part–either in cash or shares–because of fallout from Carmack joining Oculus in 2013. The suits seeks the additional money, claiming "Sour grapes is not an affirmative defense to breach of contract."

Zenimax told the Dallas Morning News in a statement that the case is without merit. "Apparently lacking in remorse, and disregarding the evidence of his many faithless acts and violations of law, Mr. Carmack has decided to try again."

Carmack came back firing over Twitter:

The latest legal foray by Carmack is apparently unrelated to the recent $6 billion legal action between Zenimax and Oculus over corporate secrets and broken NDAs. That case was recently resolved when a jury said Oculus owed Zenimax $500 million. Even after the verdict, Carmack and Zenimax have continued to virtually spar over the evidence presented in the case.

Carmack was ruled not to be individually liable in that case, something that was brought up in the new suit: "ZeniMax's invocation of the same alleged acts that it just went to trial on is an exercise in bad faith and distraction, not a legitimate basis to avoid paying the money it owes from its purchase of id Software," the complaint said.

There is no love lost between the two parties, and there is no telling how long the back-and-forth will continue, especially since Carmack has no problem taking his views directly to the public. Either way, lawyers on both sides will continue to rake in hefty fees as the two continue to try to pin blame on each other. 

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