Samsung Gear VR was secretly devised at id Software, ZeniMax claims

Ben Parfitt
Samsung Gear VR was secretly devised at id Software, ZeniMax claims

The legal war between Bethesda owner ZeniMax and Oculus has stepped up yet another level.

Polygon reports that new papers filed by ZeniMax now allege that former id Software execs John Carmack and Matt Hooper devised a mobile VR strategy that ultimately led to the creation of the Samsung Gear VR while still working at id's offices in the summer of 2013.

Carmack left id in early 2014 while Hooper was recently fired.

The new lawsuit claims that the Gear VR headset infringes ZeniMax technology and trade secrets as it relies on Oculus software. ZeniMax is therefore seeking injunctive relief and punitive damages.

In February a jury awarded ZeniMax $500m after they found Oculus violated a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). ZeniMax initially asked for $4bn ($2bn in compensation and $2bn in damages) but the jury found Oculus not guilty of stealing trade secrets to create the Rift headset, despite ZeniMax's initial claim.

Later that month ZeniMax filed documents with a Texas court asking that sales of the Oculus Rift and any associated software be halted.

The jury's damage award here, however substantial, is an insufficient incentive for Defendants to cease infringing,” ZeniMax said. Just minutes after the jury revealed its verdict, Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg, publicly stated that the jury's verdict of a half billion dollars was ‘not material to [Facebook's] financials'.”

Furthermore it wants to see Oculus "permanently enjoined, on a worldwide basis, from using, marketing, selling, distributing, modifying, servicing, copying, or offering for sale or license any products, in whole or in part, that utilize in any form or for any purpose any of the Copyrighted Materials".

Carmack struck back the following month, alleging that ZeniMax has held back money relating to the purchase of Id Software in 2009, saying that he hasn't received $22.5m owed to him purely because of the bad blood between the two companies.

ZeniMax clearly doesn't want to pay,” court documents read. And while Mr. Carmack awaits ZeniMax's seemingly inevitable refusal to honour its obligation to pay the remainder of the purchase price, ZeniMax is already in breach of the Asset Purchase Agreement and Convertible Promissory Note.

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