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Oculus says ZeniMax's lawsuit is nothing more than "a transparent attempt" to cash-in on Facebook's purchase

6/25/14 10:26pm

The pending legal battle between ZemiMax and Oculus VR got a bit uglier today, as the accused (Oculus) submitted it's official response to ZeniMax's allegations, to a U.S. District Court in Texas. 

Among the highlights of the 32 page document (which you can find by clicking the source link), is a lengthy quote that takes up space on its first two pages. In this portion of the response, Oculus claims ZeniMax's lawsuit (and in turn, it's alleged claim to the Rift's VR tech) is nothing more than a "transparent attempt" to cash-in on Facebook's recent acquisition of Oculus VR. 

"ZeniMax's Complaint falsely claims ownership in Oculus VR technology in a transparent attempt to take advantage of the Oculus VR sale to Facebook," the statement reads. "By deliberately misstating some facts and omitting others, ZeniMax makes the incredible assertion that it, a videogame software publishing company for personal computers and consoles like the Sony PlayStation, invented and developed a virtual reality hardware and software system. The truth is quite different. There is not a line of ZeniMax code or any of its technology in any Oculus VR product. Indeed, ZeniMax had never identified any ‘stolen’ code or technology in any Oculus VR product, although ZeniMax had the full source code for the Oculus VR software for over a year and a half (having received it directly from Oculus VR well before it was even released publicly), and could have analyzed it online anytime (at developer.oculusvr.com). Until the Facebook deal, and the perceived chance for a quick payout, ZeniMax never raised any claim of infringement against Oculus VR, undoubtedly because ZeniMax never has contributed any intellectual property or technology to Oculus VR."

The response was capped off on the sixth page of the document with the revaluation ZeniMax had the chance to invest in the Rift but refused (probably because it wanted to own a large chunk of the company behind it, instead of just being an investor in the device. A deal Oculus rejected).

"ZeniMax had a golden opportunity to make an early investment in Oculus VR and chose to pass. The lawsuit is nothing more than ZeniMax seeking to correct for a massive missed opportunity through the assertion of meritless litigation."

For those of you who are unfamiliar with this case, ZeniMax filed a lawsuit against Oculus VR last month, claiming the now Facebook subsidiary used code developed by Oculus CTO John Carmack during his time at id Software (a ZM subsidiary), to build the revolutionary Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. If this is true, said code would technically be ZeniMax property.

Carmack and Oculus both denied these claims several times over, most recently in this very response.

OR inventor Palmer Luckey admitted he and Carmack have been collaborators ever since Carmack tested out a Rift prototype at E3 2012, and that ZeniMax provided  funding for VR development when it came to Rift support for Doom 3: BFG Edition. That is until ZeniMax pulled the plug on its VR support, which is sited as the catalyst for Carmack's departure from id last summer.

However, Luckey claims Carmack did not contribute to the development of the Rift hardware during this time, as his efforts were focused on making Doom 3 VR compatible. To back this up, Oculus made mention of Carmack's consistent crediting of Luckey as the creator of the Oculus VR tech, whenever he made the press rounds (as seen on page four).

With each side slinging harshly worded accusations against the other in the public square (or a court of law in this case), this is one legal battle that's only going to get uglier as it goes on, and with the future of what could be gaming's next big evolutionary step on the line, you just know the collective eyes of the gaming community will be glued to it the entire time.

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