This may take years to work its way through the courts, and we may never really know what happened. But a company is saying it came up with the idea for and the technology behind the Oculus Rift.
According to VRFocus, ZeniMax Media is claiming that Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey and CTO John Carmack—who was an employee at ZeniMax before decamping for Oculus—stole the idea for the technology.
“Instead of complying with his contract during his last days at ZeniMax, he copied thousands of documents from a computer at ZeniMax to a USB storage device,” the filing reads, VRFocus wrote. “He never returned those files or all copies of them after his employment with ZeniMax was terminated. In addition, after Carmack’s employment with ZeniMax was terminated, he returned to ZeniMax’s premises to take a customized tool for developing VR Technology belonging to ZeniMax that itself is part of ZeniMax’s VR technology.”
Previously, ZeniMax had claimed that Carmack took its intellectual property with him when he left for Oculus. Now the company is doubling down, saying outright that it created the technology behind what became the Rift. Luckey was at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies when he founded Oculus VR.
“This complaint filed by ZeniMax is one-sided and conveys only ZeniMax’s interpretation of the story,” an Oculus spokesperson told Fast Company. “We continue to believe this case has no merit, and we will address all of ZeniMax’s allegations in court.”