Oculus has issued a formal public response to the recent legal notice filed by Zenimax that stated the virtual reality start-up owed it compensation for intellectual property it alleged was contributed by programming luminary John Carmack while he was a Zenimax employee at id Software.
Oculus' statement tells its side of the story:
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.
As a heavy promoter of the Oculus Rift headset during its early days, John Carmack undoubtedly contributed to the start-up's success and net worth (which Facebook recent purchased for $2billion) while he was still working for Zenimax. But whether any of those efforts amount to Zenimax intellectual property will be up to the US legal system to decide.