Oculus respond to Zenimax IP claims: "all of its claims are false"

Apologies for once again using that one photo of John Carmack wearing his Oculus goggles, but it's pretty much the perfect illustration for this story - if only he was frowning rather than flashing a cheeky grin. So yes: Oculus have responded in a statement to Zenimax's claims that John Carmack took "technology and know-how" belonging to them when he left id Software/Zenimax for Oculus VR - and, blimey, they're not holding back. "We are disappointed but not surprised by Zenimax's actions and we will prove that all of its claims are false", the statement begins, before providing a full point-by-point rebuttal of Zenimax's assertions. You'll find it below.

Here's Oculus' full statement on the whole sorry situation:

"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."

That does not sound like a company that's about to back down, in an effort to prevent a costly legal battle. I'd expect things to get messy, and real soon.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.