Back in 2014, ZeniMax Media filed a lawsuit accusing Palmer Luckey’s Oculus of essentially stealing trade secrets, code, and intellectual property in the development of the Oculus Rift VR platform. At the time, ZeniMax-turned-Oculus employee John Carmack rejected the vague allegations. “ZeniMax owns the code that I wrote,” he said, “but they don’t own VR.”
A motion to dismiss the suit was denied last August, but last week, ZeniMax revised its complaint to detail Carmack’s alleged wrongdoings specifically and add to the suit both Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe and Facebook, which famously bought Oculus in 2015 for two billion dollars. In fact, ZeniMax now accuses Carmack of making off with a USB drive stuffed with documents in his final days of employment there and of coming back later to yoink a “customized tool for developing VR Technology belonging to ZeniMax that itself is part of ZeniMax’s VR technology.”
Iribe, ZeniMax alleges, spun a fanciful tale for the media about Luckey.
“Luckey lacked the training, expertise, resources, or know-how to create commercially viable VR technology, his computer programming skills were rudimentary, and he relied on ZeniMax’s computer program code and games to demonstrate the prototype Rift. Nevertheless, this fraudulent tale was frequently reported in the media as fact. Luckey increasingly and falsely held himself out to the media and the public as the visionary developer of the Rift’s VR Technology, which had actually been developed by ZeniMax without any substantial contribution from Luckey.”
Oculus has issued a statement to media, once again rejecting the allegations in the suit: “This complaint filed by ZeniMax is one-sided and conveys only ZeniMax’s interpretation of the story. We continue to believe this case has no merit, and we will address all of ZeniMax’s allegations in court.”