It seems Oculus just can’t launch itself out of questionably negative press these days. As if the $2 billion Facebook acquisition wasn’t enough to have supporters flustered, Oculus is now disputing claims of IP theft with Zenimax Media, who claims to have rights to the virtual reality headset.
In a statement issued Monday, Oculus came out swinging, stating that the virtual reality company was “disappointed but not surprised” by Zenimax’s recent actions. Oculus went on to state that all claims being made of IP theft are false.
The alleged theft claims span from one former employee — John Carmack, co-founder of id Software — who left Zenimax to pursue VR technology with Oculus. Zenimax argues that Carmack illegally shared intellectual property — lines of code — with Oculus.
The entire situation is one big mess, if you ask me. In a statement issued early last week, Zenimax stated “[We] believe it is necessary to address these matters now and will take the necessary action to protect its interests.” After the allegations, Carmack took to Twitter to quickly disperse any suspicion:
Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax.
— John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) May 1, 2014
Oculus is also presently stating that Zenimax has not identified exactly what has been stolen, leaving many to wonder if these allegations are just a last ditch-effort of a company that missed out.
What comes next in the VR feud is currently unknown, but until Zenimax can present evidence of theft, Oculus lives on. In the meantime, be sure to read Oculus’ full statement below:
We are disappointed but not surprised by Zenimax’s actions and we will prove that all of its claims are false. In the meantime, we would like to clarify a few key points:
- There is not a line of Zenimax code or any of its technology in any Oculus products.
- John Carmack did not take any intellectual property from Zenimax.
- Zenimax has misstated the purposes and language of the Zenimax non-disclosure agreement that Palmer Luckey signed.
- A key reason that John permanently left Zenimax in August of 2013 was that Zenimax prevented John from working on VR, and stopped investing in VR games across the company.
- Zenimax canceled VR support for Doom 3 BFG when Oculus refused Zenimax’s demands for a non-dilutable equity stake in Oculus.
- Zenimax did not pursue claims against Oculus for IP or technology, Zenimax has never contributed any IP or technology to Oculus, and only after the Facebook deal was announced has Zenimax now made these claims through its lawyers.
- Despite the fact that the full source code for the Oculus SDK is available online (developer.oculusvr.com), Zenimax has never identified any ‘stolen’ code or technology.