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Old 05-01-2014, 09:49 AM   #1
DoctorFinger
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Bethesda Suing Oculus Over John Carmack...Sort Of

A legal battle is brewing between Facebook and Bethesda's parent company over John Carmack and the contents of his head (and possibly hard drive).

ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda and Id, has filed a claim (although not yet a formal lawsuit) against Oculus Inc, which is in the process of being purchased by Facebook, accusing the VR headset maker of stealing their intellectual property. You can read the full statement from both companies at Engadget. Here's the tl;dr version of Zenimax' claim: the company provided assistance to Oculus and founder Palmer Luckey, chiefly in the form of VR research Carmack did while an Id employee. Carmack left Id to join Oculus, and in the process provided them with "proprietary technology and know-how" that they did not buy or license. They also claim Luckey stipulated, in writing, that the info in question was Zenimax property, and Oculus was at one point prepared to offer an equity stake in the company before pulling out of negotiations.

Oculus' response boils down to "no comment, but they're golddigging."

With their acquisition by Facebook, Oculus was positioned for big things. This suit won't really change that, but it will likely alter some of the finances of the company. It also probably signals once and for all that the Id-Carmack relationship is irreconcilable, crushing the hopes of some old school Id fans who were hoping for a reunion down the road.

Source - Engadget
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:59 AM   #2
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What do you do when one of the biggest names in your company just left for greener pastures and the huge multimillion dollar MMO you made turns out to be a giant turd? You get out the lawyers and get a piece of sometime else's success.
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:07 AM   #3
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All of a sudden being owned by Facebook and having their healthy legal team in Occulus corner seems like a much better idea.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:11 PM   #4
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Carmack basically summed up the situation one one elegant tweet this morning. He doesn't seem worried.
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Old 05-01-2014, 12:11 PM   #5
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The fact that they seem to have a written agreement with Lucky is going to be the interesting part. Also I wonder if this is connected to the pulled Doom tests and showings.
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:23 PM   #6
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Carmack basically summed up the situation one one elegant tweet this morning. He doesn't seem worried.
Well yeah, if he walked off from his desk one minute from now and went back to his vanity projects Carmack would be just as fine.
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Old 05-01-2014, 02:32 PM   #7
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I didn't mean in the sense of his personal finances, I meant more in the sense of "this changes nothing over at Occulus."
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Old 05-01-2014, 03:03 PM   #8
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The tweet in question:

Quote:
No work I have ever done has been patented. Zenimax owns the code that I wrote, but they don't own VR.
Unfortunately, that might not have much bearing on the proceedings. IANAL and all the jazz, but as I understand it, there are a lot of protections company's enjoy that aren't specifically patent related (trade secrets, chiefly), and the outcome here is going to depend both on the nature of what Bethesda thinks was taken, and the specific text of Carmack's contract with them.
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Old 05-01-2014, 06:44 PM   #9
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Somehow this doesn't surprise me. Zenimax is building a bit of a reputation.
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Sony could drop the price of PS+ to $1 a month and he'd still find a way to spin it in a negative light.
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Old 05-01-2014, 07:01 PM   #10
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Zenimax has to prove that he did that work on company time to claim any ownership of it though, the question is whether or not they have tech and code on id servers that is present in oculus tech. If so, oculus doesnt have much to stand on over it and are going to end up writing them a check.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:19 PM   #11
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The tweet in question:



Unfortunately, that might not have much bearing on the proceedings. IANAL and all the jazz, but as I understand it, there are a lot of protections company's enjoy that aren't specifically patent related (trade secrets, chiefly), and the outcome here is going to depend both on the nature of what Bethesda thinks was taken, and the specific text of Carmack's contract with them.
Yes, he comes across as a bit naive. There also might be due diligence issues; or minor league conflict of interest issues. Or it could just be a simple cash grab on Beths part were money will change hands and all will be happy.
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Old 05-01-2014, 10:27 PM   #12
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Somehow this doesn't surprise me. Zenimax is building a bit of a reputation.
There was the Notch scrolls issue - can't blame them on that; afterall trademark law is FUBAR'd (see Trenched).

There was the interplay fallout suit; where interplay was selling FO,FO2 and FO:Tactics as the Fallout Trilogy (confusing when Beth was selling FO3) plus an alleged smoke-and-mirrors Fallout MMO. Can't blame them on that either.

Were there other weird legal entanglements which they were involved in?

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Old 05-01-2014, 10:30 PM   #13
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Harkening back a year, two year to Carmak's comments on taxes. He might literally not understand legal nuances.
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:51 AM   #14
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Were there other weird legal entanglements which they were involved in?
Not necessary legal entanglements but I was thinking of a blog post I read I while back:
http://geekbravado.com/2013/06/04/be...-isnt-unusual/
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Sony could drop the price of PS+ to $1 a month and he'd still find a way to spin it in a negative light.
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Old 05-02-2014, 05:13 AM   #15
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Not necessary legal entanglements but I was thinking of a blog post I read I while back:
http://geekbravado.com/2013/06/04/be...-isnt-unusual/
Ahhh ... the Arcane thing; I knew there was something I was forgetting. It will be interesting if we eventually the hear the real story behind Prey2 or Dishonored for that matter (and the accusations might be true).
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Old 05-02-2014, 12:05 PM   #16
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Not necessary legal entanglements but I was thinking of a blog post I read I while back:
http://geekbravado.com/2013/06/04/be...-isnt-unusual/
I can't say anything about this particular deal, but that accusation is raised somewhere (usually NeoGAF) every time a developer is acquired by a publisher with whom they worked previously. But at the same time, it does seem like Bethesda/Zenimax seems to get into more of these legal kerfuffles than any company in it's weight class. Some of them (Notch/Scrolls; Interplay/Fallout) are somewhat forced on them, but it does seem like they're in the news for this more than, say, 2K or Square Enix.
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Old 05-06-2014, 01:52 PM   #17
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This is why I wasn't so upset over Facebook buying Oculus. Shit like this.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:25 AM   #18
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Little more info:

5_points_to_help_you_better_understand_Zenimaxs_su it_against_Oculus

Its significantly more intricate than I originally thought.
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