ZeniMax Media Inc. and its subsidiary, id Software LLC, filed suit last week against Oculus VR, and its founder, Palmer Luckey, for “illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology, and infringing ZeniMax copyrights and trademarks”. ZeniMax is also asserting claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition against the defendants. The suit was filed in federal court in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The company has hired Skadden, Arps to represent their claims agains Oculus and its founder.
According to the ZeniMax web site the suit arises from the defendants’ “unlawful exploitation of intellectual property, including trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology that was developed by ZeniMax after years of research and investment”.
Allegedly ZeniMax provided their intellectual property to Oculus founder Palmer Lucky under a binding Non-Disclosure Agreement that specifies such intellectual property is owned exclusively by ZeniMax. The company claims their intellectual property has provided the fundamental technology driving the Oculus Rift since its inception.
ZeniMax states they have attempted to resolve the matter “amicably” but have been unsuccessful.
Oculus has recently issued a public statement remarkably claiming that “ZeniMax has never contributed IP or technology to Oculus.”
In an email statement Oculus stated, “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.”
Robert Altman, Chairman and CEO of ZeniMax clarified their position;
“Intellectual property forms the foundation of our business. We cannot ignore the unlawful exploitation of intellectual property that we develop and own, nor will we allow misappropriation and infringement to go unaddressed.”
Oculus famously raised $2.4 million crowdfunding on Kickstarter in 2012. More recently the company was sold to Facebook for approximately $2 billion. It was not clear why ZeniMax did not pursue Oculus back in 2012 during the very public crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter.
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