(Update: Oculus Responds) Zenimax Doubles Down on Accusing Carmack of Theft

UPDATE: an Oculus spokesperson sent an official comment about the story. “This complaint filed by ZeniMax is one-sided and conveys only ZeniMax’s interpretation of the story. We continue to believe this case has no merit, and we will address all of ZeniMax’s allegations in court.”


Back in May 2014, a lawsuit battle surfaced between Zenimax and Oculus Rift. The basis of the accusations made were John Carmack “misappropriated technology” from Zenimax and id Software to take to Oculus. But recently, the related court documentation tied to the case has been updated with significant details about what’s exactly going on here.

This amended complaint gets into more specific detail about the overall infractions made in this situation, with Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe and John Carmack named specifically.  Not only does it state facts and provide evidence that Zenimax was working on VR technology, and that Carmack and Luckey had signed NDA agreements regarding matters like this, but it provides a timeline of how the alleged theft took place with extended explanations.

“Instead of complying with his contract, during his last days at ZeniMax, he copied thousands of documents from a computer at ZeniMax to a USB storage device,” the court document says. “He never returned those files or all copies of them after his employment with ZeniMax was terminated. In addition, after Carmack’s employment with ZeniMax was terminated, he returned to ZeniMax’s premises to take a customized tool for developing VR Technology belonging to ZeniMax that itself is part of ZeniMax’s VR technology.”

Another highlight of the document claims that Oculus spread a false story about Luckey’s origins with creating VR technology in his parent’s garage. It says he didn’t have either the training, expertise, or know-how to make VR technology. Since allegedly his programming skills were below average, Luckey was dependent on ZeniMax’s code in order to put together the Rift demonstration.

Further, the part involving Facebook in the lawsuit gets more details. Apparently Zenimax made Facebook aware of the lawsuit, but the company’s acquisition deal with Oculus moved forward anyway because some of the company officials misrepresented the situation. But moreover, Facebook is accused of encouraging Oculus to violate the Zenimax NDA agreement.

“On May 21, 2014, ZeniMax commenced this action against Oculus and Luckey to obtain full and fair compensation for their unlawful use of its intellectual property,” the filing reads. “ZeniMax’s filing of this action was widely covered in the national media, including in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and in the industry press. At or about that time, Facebook was provided by Oculus with a copy of the Non-Disclosure Agreement executed by Luckey. On July 21, 2014, with full awareness of ZeniMax’s claims against Oculus and Luckey in this action, and with full awareness of the Non-Disclosure Agreement executed by Luckey, Facebook closed on its acquisition of Oculus, and became the sole owner of Oculus.”

Zenimax demands a full trial by jury be carried out about the matter.

Mike Futter of Game Informer has uploaded a copy of the legal document in question to Scribd, which you can download and read for yourself here.