March 21, 2018

ZeniMax sues Samsung over Gear VR tech

17 May 2017, 02:17 | Ruben Fields

ZeniMax is suing Samsung after winning its case against Oculus


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. First, there was the lawsuit against Oculus, and Facebook, then it was a trademark issue with the indie studio No Matter Studios, and now Zenimax has targeted Samsung! The suit filing further says that Carmack had allowed Mat Hooper into the id offices without permission after Hooper was sacked from his position as creative director. ZeniMax contents that this email exchange was the basis behind the Samsung Gear VR. The base of the claim, as per court documentation, refers to ZeniMax Media's dispute with Oculus VR in 2012, where the judgement ordered Oculus to pay $500m in damages to Zeni, for violating its VR patents. Samsung often advertises its Gear VR as being powered by Oculus, and therein lies the trouble. The Samsung Gear VR was also built on some of the same code as the Oculus Rift, which was the subject of ZeniMax's earlier lawsuit.

The full text of the filing can be found on Polygon. But the lawsuit alleges that Carmack owed much of his success at Oculus to software he developed as part of a team at ZeniMax. Chances are good that a $500 million lawsuit is more than just "sour grapes", and ZeniMax's decision to file this suit against Samsung backs up that notion, but Carmack's complaint is tangential to the core dispute. ZeniMax have had various lawsuits against the Samsung Gear VR's creators, Oculus, for the same reasons, along with various suits against former members of staff. That's going to be a tricky situation in court, and ZeniMax is also going to have to prove Samsung was an accessory to Oculus's previous misconduct.

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The lawsuit against Zenimax continues the long-winding legal battle between Oculus and Zenimax, and with Samsung now joining the fray, there seems to be no end in sight.

Simply put, Zenimax is alleging, while its suit against Oculus was in motion, Samsung should have been aware that there was the possibility that the VR Gear was being developed with its proprietary technology, yet it forged ahead with the device's development regardless.

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