Oculus VR sued by ZeniMax and id Sofware

MANILA, Philippines – Barely two months after Facebook acquired them for $2-billion, VR company Oculus finds itself hunted down by entities that may or may not have the right to cash in.

On Wednesday, May 21 (Thursday in Manila) game publisher ZeniMax whose video game development company id Software is responsible for popular titles like Doom and Quake sued Oculus VR and its founder Palmer Luckey for “illegally misappropriating ZeniMax trade secrets relating to virtual reality technology.”

Oculus shot back saying the Zenimax claim has no merit. In an official statement Facebook’s latest acquisition said, “ZeniMax did not contribute to any Oculus technology. Oculus will defend these claims vigorously.”

Both companies tried to settle matters over a series of legal exchanges last month but Oculus has refused to shell out any compensation.

The conflict stems from the tangled histories of both companies. At the center of the conflict is Oculus CTO John Carmack who is also co-founder of id Software. Carmack’s status as the legendary programmer behind behind Quake, Doom and Wolfenstein helped catapult Oculus into the public’s consciousness when he demoed the VR headset at E3 in 2012. Several months later the startup raised an impressive $2.4-million on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and then two years later Oculus was acquired by Facebook for $2-billion.

Carmack joined Oculus in August 2013 but only left id Software in November of the same year. He is credited for heavily aiding Luckey in the development of his product but earlier this May Carmack took to his Twitter account to deny any ZeniMax claim on Oculus code.

He tweeted, “No work I have ever done has been patented. Zenimax owns the code that I wrote but they don’t own VR. Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax.”

Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax. — John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) May 1, 2014

Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax. — John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) May 1, 2014

Oculus has gone as far as suggesting that the lawsuit is motivated by its recent multi-billion dollar paycheck, "It's unfortunate, but when there's this type of transaction, people come out of the woodwork with ridiculous and absurd claims...only after the Facebook deal was announced has ZeniMax now made these claims through its lawyers.”  – Rappler.com with reports from Mark Vincent Villa