Zenimax Media accuses John Carmack of taking ‘proprietary technology’ to Facebook’s Oculus VR

Posted May 2, 2014

Id Software is the company that designed classic shooter games like Doom and Quake. Its parent company Zenimax Media is accusing former executive John Carmack of inappropriately taking intellectual property. Carmack joined Oculus VR in August and Zenimax is claiming that Oculus is using technology that Carmack developer during his long career at Id Software. Zenimax claims that Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey acknowledged in writing that he was only able to make the virtual reality headset through the use of Zenimax’s technologies. Zenimax’s lawyers said that even though Carmack currently works for Oculus VR, the technologies that he invented or worked on while a Zenimax employee belong to that company.

Facebook is currently in the process of acquiring Oculus VR for $2 billion. Oculus VR believes that the acquisition is the reason why Zenimax is now looking for royalties. An Oculus VR spokesperson told VentureBeat: ?It?s unfortunate, but when there?s this type of transaction, people come out of the woodwork with ridiculous and absurd claims.?

Carmack did provide key technology for the Oculus Rift, but he provided it openly to Luckey for free. This is when Luckey was developing the technology at University of Southern California?s Institute for Creative Technologies.

Zenimax says that it conducted discussions with Oculus VR about compensation for the technology, but the publisher claims those talks did not ‘reach a satisfactory resolution,’ added Zenimax in a statement sent to Engadget.

The Oculus Rift headset was one of the first successes on Kickstarter.com. Oculus had a $250,000 goal on Kickstarter, but 9,522 backers gave over $2.4 billion.