Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Zenimax Sues Oculus Over VR Tech

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the being-jerks-for-fun-and-profit dept.

Facebook 97

An anonymous reader writes "We had hints at this when Zenimax accused John Carmack of stealing 'proprietary technology and know-how,' but now it's official: Zenimax is suing Oculus VR over its virtual reality headset technology. 'According to a statement released by Zenimax, the lawsuit was filed over what it perceives to be the defendants' illegal exploitation of intellectual property, including "trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology" that was developed by Zenimax. Zenimax is also seeking to take Oculus and Luckey to task for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and unfair competition. Zenimax continues to claim that it provided IP to Oculus under a legal agreement that it would be owned exclusively by ZeniMax and could not be "used, disclosed, or transferred to third parties without Zenimax's approval."'"

cancel ×

97 comments

Prior Art (3, Funny)

thedonger (1317951) | about 2 months ago | (#47059835)

The universe has been in 3-D for like 30 billion years.

Re:Prior Art (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47059933)

4000 years you clod.

Re:Prior Art (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 months ago | (#47060067)

I think you meant 6000. Unless there's some other belief system I'm unaware of that believes we're just making up/wrong about the stuff we know from Egypt, Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean, China, India, and elsewhere that pre-date 2000 BC.

Re:Prior Art (1)

mellon (7048) | about 2 months ago | (#47060613)

We're definitely just making shit up. What's your point? :)

Re:Prior Art (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 2 months ago | (#47060659)

Point? Isn't being a pedant whenever possible a good enough reason? :P

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060643)

You really can't prove to me that the Universe wasn't made in its present state (your memories included) the very instant you become aware of this sentence.

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063717)

I don't need to, because you and the rest of the universe only exist because I do. You're a figment for my benefit and you cannot prove that you aren't.

Re:Prior Art (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47064771)

Is that a figment of my imagination claiming I'm a figment of its imagination?
I can't prove to anyone else that I'm not but I can prove it to the most important person, me :)

Re: Prior Art (1)

Scowler (667000) | about 2 months ago | (#47060691)

Please. In the context of this article, call them "virtual realities", not "beliefs".

Re:Prior Art (3, Funny)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 months ago | (#47060065)

Well... maybe [wikipedia.org] .

Any chance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47059887)

Any chance they knew this was coming and decided to pair up with the big fish before? I mean, they should have virtually unlimited amount of juridic support now, right?

Re:Any chance... (2)

Anrego (830717) | about 2 months ago | (#47060121)

It's probably opposite.

That is, they wern't a target until they paired up with a company that could pay out massive damages should they win.

Re:Any chance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47061803)

I bet Zenimax needs money, their cash cow (Elder Scrolls Online) was born lame and barren.
They're too greedy (subscriptions and micro-payments) to ever go back to single-player ES games.

Re:Any chance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062711)

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Isn't that were patent trolls usually file cases?

In any event, Oculus VR has nothing to worry about. ZeniMax has admitted that they are suing due to their flat-out wrong belief that no compete is somehow enforceable. They're going to get laughed out of court and failing that, Oculus VR's big brother can just bury them with high priced lawyers until ZeniMax goes out of business.

Re:Any chance... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063661)

No, that's the Eastern District Court of Texas.

Re:Any chance... (1)

SuperDre (982372) | about 2 months ago | (#47063775)

It's the pair up that is the base of the lawsuit, if Oculus hadn't sold itself to whomever there wouldn't be a problem, but they sold itself without first consulting Zenimax in regard to the tech.. Let's not forget, Carmack worked on the oculus while he was still working for Zenimax, and appearantly there is an agreement/contract about it..
So it's not like they didn't sue before because they didn't think there was any money to be had, but they didn't sue because there was no 'contract'breach, only after Oculus sold itself to Facebook there was a 'contract'breach..

fuck zenimax (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 months ago | (#47059897)

they didn't want to do it.

and I fail to see what they provided. maybe they think that carmack(and therefore them) invented 3d->2d projection calculations(oculus tech works just fine without anything that could have been zenimax property).

furthermore, zenimax(through carmack, or through contracts) promised me doom 3 with my oculus rift and never delivered(technically apparently now by not giving devtime for it). fuck 'em.

Re:fuck zenimax (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 2 months ago | (#47059941)

Zenimax owns Carmack's work while he was on their clock.
All that shit about "trade secrets, copyrighted computer code, and technical know-how relating to virtual reality technology" is likely just a puffed up way of saying (true or not) Carmack worked on OR shit on Zenimax's dime, thus Zenimax owns that work.

Re:fuck zenimax (5, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 months ago | (#47059985)

and that is already another lawsuit I think? I think they already sued for Carmack going to work for them(and carmack taking trade secrets with him, namely his brain, the way they worded things would have made for Carmack impossible to move to another employer if Zenimax had their way. so double fuck 'em.).

Re:fuck zenimax (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060107)

Its only a lawsuit now that there's big bucks in it. No sue happy when it was a crowd funded project, couldn't get anything out of em. Facebook steps in and now billions are on the table. Magical law suit fairies appear.

Its a troll hoping for a payoff.

Re:fuck zenimax (2)

Teancum (67324) | about 2 months ago | (#47061793)

Zenimax owns Carmack's work while he was on their clock..

That gets real tricky with a guy who was actually working at three different businesses at the same time and spent time in three (or more... I don't know John Carmack personally) physical offices. It also depends on the contract that Mr. Carmack actually signed with Zenimax, or rather the contract that Zenimax inherited when they took over ID Software. ID seemed fine with the idea that Mr. Carmack could work at both places at the same time and had previously agreed upon his work with Armadillo Aerospace where I presume there was some sort of either informal or formal agreement for separation of intellectual property. In other words, I really doubt you could make a case that Zenimax owns the intellectual property rights to Pixel, Project Morpheus, or the Stig.

No doubt if Armadillo Aerospace suddenly became very profitable they would like to try this same stunt with John Carmack for those spacecraft, thus it really is in Mr. Carmack's interest to nail this down hard and tell Zenimax to take a hike with a judge backing him up.

The fly in the ointment here is the agreement that ID Software had, even if just verbal promises, about intellectual property rights for these side projects that he clearly was involved with outside of the company. The other thing that really mucks stuff up is that John Carmack was a major owner/investor in ID Software and lost that position when Zemimax took over the company. In other words he turned from being a shareholder/partner into a mere employee, and it is possible that Zenimax didn't cross all of their t's and dot i's to get that put down in writing what his exact status was... nor ever nailed that down when they gave Mr. Carmack the shove out the door telling him to get lost.

This is definitely not the same situation as a typical work-for-hire that most salaried engineers find themselves in except if they were one of the co-founders of the company in question.

Re:fuck zenimax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47062085)

Zenimax owns Carmack's work while he was on their clock..

It also depends on the contract that Mr. Carmack actually signed with Zenimax, or rather the contract that Zenimax inherited when they took over ID Software.

No. Zenimax and OR had a specific agreement relating to Carmack's work for OR while being paid by Zenimax. It was not an inherited contract. The agreement between the two was a pretty standard work-for-hire.

Re:fuck zenimax (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 2 months ago | (#47062415)

Mr. Carmack's relationship was inherited from ID Software. If Zenimax saw the value of Mr. Carmack when they bought the company, of course that new contract would have its own terms and conditions.

I seriously doubt you have a copy of that contract, and considering the position that Mr. Carmack had at ID Software it is very doubtful it was a "standard" work-for-hire contract as well. It was very likely a custom contract with a whole bunch of exceptions and signing off on the part by lawyers for Oculus Rift, Zenimax, and those personally representing John Carmack.

My understanding is that Zenimax and Oculus Rift never did settle upon the formal employment terms, which is one of the reasons why John Carmack left Zenimax in the first place.

Re:fuck zenimax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47077741)

The NDA was leaked. https://recode.net/2014/05/01/... [recode.net]

From the link:

"Id legal EVP J. Griffin Lesher signed the NDA, as did Luckey. Carmack is not named, nor did he sign the document, but the contention is that all his work — not just code he wrote — as a ZeniMax employee was owned by the company, which expected compensation if that work ever made it into a money-making product. A source familiar with the dispute said Carmack had negotiated an exception to his ZeniMax contract for his aerospace startup, Armadillo Aerospace, but that no such exception was negotiated for virtual reality."

I don't know who's right here. Neither side is saying specifically what's at issue. Zenimax give some generic "they've used some IP we own" and OR counters with "we haven't used any of Zenimax code." Zenimax's claim is too generic and OR's claim is too limited according to the NDA.

Re:fuck zenimax (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 months ago | (#47062027)

And Carmack himself openly admitted he worked on Oculus Rift while working for Zenimax. That was one of the big arguments Oculus guys used to advertise themselves early on.

They are boned. The only thing they can do is try to get a decent deal, but Zenimax has them by the balls and they know it.

Re:fuck zenimax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063881)

He can work on whatever he wants. ZeniMax doesn't own him and non-compete agreements are invalid in most places.

ZeniMax is worth only 1.2 billion. Facebook paid almost twice that much for Oculus VR. Basically, ZeniMax has absolutely no hope in hell of winning this. Facebook could buy and sell their sorry asses.

Re:fuck zenimax (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a month ago | (#47067951)

There's a difference between non compete bullshit and working for a second employer on your first employer's dime.

Re:fuck zenimax (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 2 months ago | (#47073119)

He can work on whatever he wants in his free time. However it looks like he signed a standard "all your work in your field is owned by your employer" contract.

That means that work he did while on Zenimax's payroll for Oculus is in fact owned by Zenimax. Courts have always upheld such contracts. Facebook has no legal leg to stand on here, nor does Oculus. They are completely boned.

About the only reasonable argument is going to be on how much of the work was done by Carmack, and as a result how much of the 2 billion is going to go to Zenimax.

Re:fuck zenimax (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47064809)

Carmack worked on OR shit on Zenimax's dime, thus Zenimax owns that work.

Then they should have the copyrights and patents to prove it. Trade secrets can be independently discovered so aren't owned in the same way. They're merely secret.

Re:fuck zenimax (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about a month ago | (#47068047)

Carmack worked on OR shit on Zenimax's dime, thus Zenimax owns that work.

Then they should have the copyrights and patents to prove it. Trade secrets can be independently discovered so aren't owned in the same way. They're merely secret.

No, they have the pay stubs proving they paid him for x hours and they presumably have some amount of documentation of when and where he was working for them and what he was doing. He was working on/for OR while he was employed by Zenimax. This is KNOWN. OR and Carmack wouldn't shut up about it. Whether or not any agreements between Zenimax and OR allowed for this to occur while Carmac was on their clock is UNKNOWN to anyone but Zenimax and OR.

Zenimax is claiming that there was no such agreement or that it was violated in some way.
OR is claiming that there was such an agreement (that wasn't violated), or that Carmack was never on Zenimax's clock when working on OR shit.

Last Line (1)

Traze (1167415) | about 2 months ago | (#47059913)

The older stories I read talked about it being over John Carmack, and though that was BS.

If the last line is correct, I think they have every right to sue.

Corporate Pettiness (5, Insightful)

Malkhuth (1334499) | about 2 months ago | (#47059927)

Looks like Zenimax is just jealous of Oculus' buyout.

Re:Corporate Pettiness (2)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47060307)

And now that Fuckbook owns them, two things will happen. They will just settle with Zenimax, or bury them.

Does anyone know if/when there will be an injunction to prevent the Oculus from being developed further or sold as dev kits?

Re:Corporate Pettiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060525)

Looks like Zenimax is just jealous of Oculus' buyout.

They're also angry that Carmack jumped ship and took a vast amount of 'their' employees with him.

Re:Corporate Pettiness (1)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 months ago | (#47062405)

Looks like Zenimax is just jealous of Oculus' buyout.

They're also angry that Carmack jumped ship and took a vast amount of 'their' employees with him.

Perhaps they should have treated him with the respect he deserves.

Re:Corporate Pettiness (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 months ago | (#47061407)

They've been trying to work with Oculus for a year or so on settling the issue. Oculus made some offers, and Zeni felt they weren't enough. Now they are suing over it.

Re:Corporate Pettiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47067729)

The subtle difference between jealousy and envy.

Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (4, Interesting)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 months ago | (#47059973)

Looks like ZeniMax's argument is that since Carmack used ZeniMax equipment, that all work done by him is owned by ZeniMax.

20. ZeniMax was established in 1999 as the parent company for the acquisition of Bethesda Softworks,

23. In his employment agreement with ZeniMax, Carmack agreed to disclose toZeniMax inventions relating to the companyâ(TM)s current or anticipated research and developmentthat Carmack created during the term of his employment, and further agreed that all suchinventions would be the exclusive property of ZeniMax. Carmack also agreed that ZeniMaxwould also be the author and owner of any copyrightable works that he prepared within the scopeof his employment

24. For years, dating back to the 1990s, ZeniMax and its affiliates had conducted research into virtual reality technology and headsets

They might win this on a technicality aka, literalism.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060131)

Does Carmack own any of zenimax? He was a fairly large portion of iD at one point or did he sell it all out? Could this be a case of someone suing themselves?

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 months ago | (#47061981)

I don't believe Carmack has any equity in ZeniMax. Him leaving iD seals the deal that ZeniMax can't claim any ownership.

Ironically, you *can* sue yourself, absurd as that is. The full details can be found here:

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn... [upenn.edu]

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (2)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | about 2 months ago | (#47060231)

I might buy it if he took anything with him other than his brain. I greatly suspect that Oculus and Carmack will argue that he left ZeniMax with nothing except his know-how, and they can't own that, no matter how he came by it. He's just a clever guy. He re-invented everything in a different way when he got to Oculus, and that's that. Zenimax can use anything that Carmack left behind, but this is all new.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (2)

Defenestrar (1773808) | about 2 months ago | (#47060721)

Unless he transmitted any information to Oculus before formally resigning from Zenimax - such as things like, you know, texting, emailing, talking, illicitly copying data to his gray matter, entangling photons, collapsing wave functions by observing, etc...

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 2 months ago | (#47062341)

One of the projects that Mr. Carmack was working on at ID Software was to incorporate Oculus Rift technology into ID games. That very well could require some coding that would involve ID "intellectual property" that could in turn be rolled into at least the Oculus development kit API.

As to if Zenimax owns the API of Oculus, I thought that had some other legal precedence that sort of frowned upon this kind of behavior?

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (3, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 months ago | (#47060349)

They wouldn't allow him to work on it which is one of the reasons he left so he didn't do anything on zenimax's equipment.

They are essentially claiming ownership of things in his head that he didn't work on, just thought about. That's what line 23 is talking about ownership of things he thought about.

This is about Zenimax rent seeking on Facebook. They think they can extract a pound of flesh now that Occulus has deep pockets backing it.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 months ago | (#47061943)

That's what I hoping for too. We definitely need to get Carmack's word and get all the facts.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 months ago | (#47062203)

That's what I hoping for too. We definitely need to get Carmack's word and get all the facts.

You can bet Mr. Carmack's lawyer has already told him not to say one mumbling word in public about either suit. We won't be getting his word for years to come, unless Facebook seriously unloads with both barrels. Odds are they'll pay Zenimax something with a gag order and we'll never hear any of the facts. And Zenimax is perfectly aware of the odds. So far as can be told publicly, Facebook isn't like NewEgg. They don't fight much. So the typical corporate shakedown tactic will succeed and that'll be the end of it.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47065265)

Except... that he has made public statements:

https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack =>

John Carmack @ID_AA_Carmack May 1 Oculus uses zero lines of code that I wrote while under contract to Zenimax.

  John Carmack @ID_AA_Carmack May 1 No work I have ever done has been patented. Zenimax owns the code that I wrote, but they don't own VR.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 2 months ago | (#47062827)

No need to hope, ask yourself with a straight face what "anticipated research" is. They've buried it in a legitimate complaint that you can sue for (and likely have no chance of prevailing on the legitimate portion) but I guarantee their whole case turns on the idea that they can sue for "anticipated research".

They put in all the other easily disprovable stuff so the case isn't dismissed by summary judgement so they can try to argue that what ever was in Carmack's head was "anticipated research" that even though he didn't actually do any of it for Zenimax (because they wouldn't let him work on it) they still own it. See they have to call it anticipated research because if they claimed they owned all his future work the case would be thrown out in a heartbeat. So we have a lawsuit about "anticipated research".

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060369)

They might win this on a technicality aka, literalism.

Nah, I work in a technology heavy, invention heavy, IP industry and it's not an allowable position to claim the rights to someones knowledge in the future. All they can restrict is the dissemination of proprietary information (like documents). Anything that can be construed as a "non-compete" clause is basically unenforceable.

If he took code with him, they have a case. If he took ideas only, then they only have a case if their lawyers are better than his.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47060387)

Being that VR existed long before 1999, I doubt they can claim ownership of VR as an abstract concept. Now if they can prove source code and/or designs were rehashed by Carmack, now that's another story from what I can tell.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060545)

The key out is "inventions relating to the company".

As far as I know ZeniMax had nothing to do with VR.

Games, yes. Publishing games, yes.

But how does anything that Oculus does have to do with writing and publishing games?

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060553)

Zenimax however dating back into the 1990s had Waldo-finding and blueskinned referee technology on the NES.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 months ago | (#47061445)

Zenimax also claims there are signed agreements or contracts or something in place that give them rights to work related to what he did with them. I don't know specifics, but the fact that OR has made previous offers in the last year (offers that Zeni felt were inadequate), it kind of feels like there must be something solid here. Otherwise, OR would have said screw off a year ago.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (1)

Teancum (67324) | about 2 months ago | (#47062371)

The offers were about a joint project between OR and Zenimax, which John Carmack was going to be the lead developer for that project. That Zenimax decided it wasn't worth their effort should be perhaps a bit more understandable other than trying to figure out what role John Carmack was going to have without any sort of joint project on the horizon. Zenimax was insisting Mr. Carmack work full-time for them and he told them to go to the proverbial hell and simply left Zenimax altogether.

That was the point where I think Zenimax might be in trouble as had they insisted upon a formal IP settlment at that time, their case would be a whole lot more solid right now. Coming back several months later now that a couple billion dollars are on the table with OR really makes it seem like they are trolling rather than any actual concern about their intellectual property rights.

Re:Shady wording of trying to claim prior work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063915)

ZeniMax didn't do shit involving VR. That is revisionist history and has absolutely zero evidence to support it. The entire reason for this lawsuit is that they are jealous of Oculus VR's success and want a piece of the pie.

Zenimax - not quite as bad as Zynga (2)

guises (2423402) | about 2 months ago | (#47059975)

Between this, horse armor, claiming all rights to the use of the word "scrolls," the extended lawsuit with Interplay over Fallout Online: Zenimax is a terrible company.

People should not buy their stuff, but as always seems to happen in the games industry - if people like your games, you can get away with anything. Blizzard, Activision, Sony, Microsoft... remember this [gamalive.com] ? That picture is the reason I gave up on fighting against DRM. I still don't buy games that require activation, but I realize now that I'm always going to be in the minority.

Re:Zenimax - not quite as bad as Zynga (1)

allcoolnameswheretak (1102727) | about 2 months ago | (#47060115)

It's not really fair to the many good people working at Bethesda Softworks not to buy their games and thereby possibly put their livelyhood at risk, because some lawyers at their parent company happen to be pricks. It's not like they are responsible for this or have any say in it.

Re:Zenimax - not quite as bad as Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060343)

It's perfectly fair. And one of the few ways for consumers to correct egregiously awful behavior. Refusing to push back when they do evil just encourages more of the same.

And it's not just a parent company, it's Bethesda's publishing wing, owned by the same people who lead Zenimax. So it's not just some other company that's vaguely connected. It's just a legal shield against being held legally liable for bad behavior. Like screwing over the studios they publish for.

Check into what they've done to Arkane, for more ugliness.

Re:Zenimax - not quite as bad as Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060507)

Even worse would be what they've done to Humanhead.

Re:Zenimax - not quite as bad as Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060807)

And Headfirst Productions

Re:Zenimax - not quite as bad as Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060505)

Don't sell out to the man if you don't wanna be blamed for the man's actions.

Re:Zenimax - not quite as bad as Zynga (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 2 months ago | (#47061147)

It's perfectly fair. Those good people working at Bethesda Softworks should take this opportunity now to leave and form their own company, before they have yet another idea that will instantly be owned by Zenimax. Then Zenimax can keep what it wants most - all the IP for the games it bought - just lose all the people that came with it.

Re:Zenimax - not quite as bad as Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063923)

Nonsense, it's perfectly fair, money is the only thing companies understand.

Re:Zenimax - not quite as bad as Zynga (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47066649)

Two things:
While Carmack may be awesome at 3D graphic engines I hardly think that qualifies him as some sort of VR "expert", or at least any more than any other hobbyist dabbling their toes in it.

And secondly, interesting how Zenimax suddenly got so interested when (a) Elder Scrolls Online turned out to be a steaming pile instead of a money printing machine and (b) Occulus just happened to have been bought by a company that also just happens to apparently, have a pretty big pile of cash lying around...

anyone remember who was hitlers favorite enemy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060033)

terrorists. nothing new in centuries of genocidal mutants.. once all the opposition is deleted the real crooks will have the run of us completely http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=word+terrorist+history

Trial By Combat (2)

stewsters (1406737) | about 2 months ago | (#47060057)

Perhaps Carmack should challenge them to a trial by combat, on Quake using the Occulus Rift. I bet Notch would assist.

bollocks (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 months ago | (#47060171)

Technical know-how belongs to the person who's brain holds it. It can not be transferred.
Unless John Carmack copied the source code of Zenimax, there is no copyright issue. If you want to stop someone writing code that does the same thing as your code, you file an absurdly stupid patent.
They may have something on trade secrets, depends what they considered secret.

Re:bollocks (1)

dunezone (899268) | about 2 months ago | (#47060683)

I feel like this is something the lawyers for Oculus VR and Zenimax would have looked over before Carmack started developing for the Oculus Rift. I would also think the lawyers for Facebook would have paid closed attention to this when looking into buying Oculus Rift.

Re:bollocks (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 months ago | (#47061535)

They did. Luckey has put in writing that Zenimax owns the IP behind the tech, and that it can't be shared or used with third parties without Zenimax's involvement. Both sides have spent the last year doing the offer/counter-offer thing to work out terms, but that all crashed when Facebook got involved. I imagine Facebook basically took the stance of "we can afford to fight it if we have to, and since we're bigger than Zenimax, we'll have the advantage." To them, the worst case scenario is probably nothing more than an out of court settlement for some shares in Facebook or something.

Re:bollocks (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 months ago | (#47061935)

Or buy out Zenimax after they spend a huge chunk of their assets on lawyers.

Re:bollocks (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 months ago | (#47061505)

Unfortunately, Luckey has put in writing to Zenimax that Zenimax owns the IP used in OR, and that the tech can't be shared or used with third parties without Zenimax's involvement. That agreement is apparently well-documented and in place. They tried to work out an agreement where Zeni was given equity stake in the OR company, but when Facebook bought them, that became impossible. Believe it or not, just because a company sues, doesn't mean they are the bad guy.

Re:bollocks (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 months ago | (#47062369)

Unfortunately, Luckey has put in writing to Zenimax that Zenimax owns the IP used in OR, and that the tech can't be shared or used with third parties without Zenimax's involvement.

You've posted that twice now and I'm calling bullshit. Palmer Luckey created the Oculus Rift completely independently of John Carmack and Zenimax both. He started showing it around, Mr. Carmack got interested and started demoing it, still without working on it himself. It was only after Mr. Luckey managed a successful Kickstarter for the Rift that anybody really gave any credence to the idea in the first place. Mr. Carmack started addressing the software gap by volunteering to make the upcoming Doom 3 re-release compatible. That's when he actually started working on the project and his contract with Zenimax became an issue. Until that point, Zenimax owned nothing.

I don't believe for an instant that Mr. Luckey would sign away all his hardware design work on the Oculus Rift. It was his sole design, based on his own personal years of experience with older, inferior virtual reality displays, none of which Zenimax had anything at all to do with. I consider it far more likely that the other claim posted on Slashdot is true, that Zenimax signed a "we don't give a damn" agreement for John Carmack's time. They thought they were looking at a failed Kickstarter in the making, and paid no attention to Valve's interest, nor gave any credence to the whole idea. VR had failed before; VR would fail again. They went so far as to deny Mr. Carmack permission to follow through on his offer of Doom 3 support. That is not the action of a company with skin in the game. If they owned any Rift IP, they would not be actively working against it.

No, this is just sour grapes on the part of Zenimax.

(And thank you Aesop for providing the genesis of a marvelously concise phrase to describe that particular human behavior.)

Re:bollocks (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 2 months ago | (#47063161)

I'm just going off of what Zenimax is claiming. Plus, they seem to be backing up those claims quite a bit. At least enough that people should stop just assuming this is an troll suite and that the big bad company is out to get little old Oculus Rift.

For example, here's a copy [docstoc.com] of an NDA that Luckey signed two years ago that seems to back up Zenimax's claims a bit. Zenimax also claims that they were investing "tens of millions of dollars" in VR tech before Carmack was even part of the picture. I think the general idea is that they brought him in, where he worked primarily on their VR tech, and then left last year to join OR to work on their VR tech.

Anyway, all I'm saying is that people need to stop just assuming Zenimax is trolling here. From what I've seen and read, they have a pretty good case.

Amazing double standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060251)

If this was about someone taking code from an open source project and selling it without attribution for a buttload of money everyone would be calling for the company to be crucified. If Carmack wasn't involved in this I doubt it would be receiving this much of an insane fanboy reaction. People should wait for the court case for everything to be laid out and then measure which side deserves condescension.

Zenimax will lose, and in the worst way (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060339)

Zenimax are the morons who paid an absolute fortune to buy the failing iD software developer. At the time, all but the most moronic Carmack fan-boys knew that iD was in the most dire straits, with Carmack having burnt through an insane amount of money working on the dreadful idtech5 engine and Rage. iD was a joke for its complete inability to produce even a half-decent game design, and Carmack's last engine, the one behind the very mediocre Doom 3 game, had been a total failure (only one external use of the licence- Prey).

After buying iD, Zenimax allowed Bethesda (their gaming arm) to give Caramck and the other iD head honchos another small fortune to create two massive internal iD teams. To date, the sum total of output from these two teams (now down-sized to a one smaller unified team) has been Rage (the same game iD had spent years on BEFORE being bought out). They didn't even port idtech5 to directX (hence the dreadful problems the current Wolfenstein game is having running on current PCs). Even Doom 4 actually made NEGATIVE progress (so the game is currently less progressed than when iD was bought out). .

Carmack was seen as part of the 'problem', and Zenimax was clearly happy to have him 'sod off' to Oculus VR while still under contract.

As Carmack now 'proudly' (?) boasts, his time at Oculus VR, while under contract to Bethesda, gave Oculus VR nothing of value- and Carmack should know.

Zenimax wants blood, and NOT because of their dishonestly stated events at Oculus VR. No, Zenimax is out for blood over having been 'conned' in the first place with the iD buy-out. Accept, as I said at the top, Zenimax wasn't conned but chose to buy a company every sane and informed person knew was worse than useless. Zenimax should have paid iD for exclusive rights to the gaming IP (Quake, Doom, Wolfenstein, ET multiplayer) and NOTHING ELSE. This way Bethesda could have found reliable third-part software houses to work on new versions of these games using the Unreal engine. iD would have gained a nice lump sum, and Zenimax would have started with a clean slate.

Zenimax now attacks Oculus VR as a proxy, and this is the worst strategy imaginable. Caramack is open and honest, and very intelligent to boot. He will have given Zenimax's lawyers less than zero to work with. And this means Facebook will be extremely unlikely to want to settle (and Zenimax wants too large a pay-off anyway, to cover their iD loses). Indeed, I imagine Facebook is chomping at the bit to give Zenimax a very sound 'spanking' indeed.

The courts in the USA consider such issues using contract law first, second and third. Zenimax has made it clear that the contracts that do exist refer to theoreticals that never actually came into play. And worse, Zenimax, of its own choosing, decided NOT to seek monetary remuneration of any significant amount for Carmack's work for Oculus VR, while under contract. The old "we'll do the work for you, and THEN we'll decide what to charge you" is an unlawful form of business practice in every first-world nation.

Zenimax will have to show ACTUAL, registered IP of its ownership in current Oculus VR business, and that is impossible, because it doesn't exist. So Zenimax will fall back on the nebulous, non-legal argument that because "Carmack is a genius", and "Facebook bought Oculus VR for 2 billion after Carmack's involvement", Carmack's 'input' (whatever that may have been) was 'instrumental' and therefore since Carmack was Zenimax's wage-slave for at least some of this period, Zenimax is entitled to a giant slice of the pie- innit.

The great thing about the USA is that you can find a lawyer willing to take your money to argue ANY nonsense in court, and keep doing so while the fees keep flowing. Sometimes a judge takes pity, and advises the suckers paying for the creep that they have literally ZERO chance of winning early on- but usually everyone involved with the system simply sits back and sucks on the teat of corporate idiocy.

The shaming part? Zenimax could use its money instead to pay for three over-lapping teams to work on the Elder Scrolls and Fallout IP, delivering at least one game a year, and maybe two- meeting the need of gamers and making a fortune. Instead, Zenimax allows Bethesda to cheap-out on the development of its core IP, meaning one is lucky if they get one game out from these franchises every 2.5 years. Where would COD be if it didn't have a yearly release?

Re:Zenimax will lose, and in the worst way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47061301)

I agree with every thing you said but please don't compare anything Bethesda does with COD. it makes me hurt inside

Re:Zenimax will lose, and in the worst way (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 months ago | (#47062039)

The point was that ZeniMax is pissing money away in legal fees instead of pouring money into game development; at least they would actually have something to show for it.

Re:Zenimax will lose, and in the worst way (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 2 months ago | (#47062463)

Caramack is open and honest, and very intelligent to boot. He will have given Zenimax's lawyers less than zero to work with. And this means Facebook will be extremely unlikely to want to settle (and Zenimax wants too large a pay-off anyway, to cover their iD loses).

The one doesn't necessarily follow from the other.

I'm quite certain Mr. Carmack is open, honest, and very intelligent, and he's been around the corporate block enough times to wear the naivete off of even as stunning an intellect as his (plus he's married and you can bet his wife is paying attention to business even if he isn't*). All of that may be true, but Facebook may still settle.

So far Facebook has shown precious little interest in court fights. I expect Facebook will offer a considerably lower sum than they're asking. If they go so far as insultingly low, then there will be a fight, but if they don't, Zenimax will probably accept and that will be the end of it. Unless Zenimax's greed just overpowers them and they start demanding royalties forever after, in which case there probably will be a fight. But if the bogus IP claim is just a bargaining position, I could easily see this whole thing settling out of court in a matter of months. If they really are looking to get the purchase price of iD out of the deal, you're probably right, it will go to court.

Now if Zenimax were so foolish as to be suing NewEgg, I would say bust out the popcorn, light a little candle at the shrine to PJ, and sit back and watch the fireworks. But if Facebook has a lawyer like Lee Cheng, he's never been let off the leash.

---
* For evidence, I submit the fate of Armadillo Aerospace, and Mr. Carmack's public statements concerning it.

Re:Zenimax will lose, and in the worst way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063279)

On the plus side, I still play ET, the source code is free these days, and it's really the most legacy software I ever spend time booting up these days!

Re:Zenimax will lose, and in the worst way (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 2 months ago | (#47063931)

Where would COD be if it didn't have a yearly release?

I'm not hardcore gamer. (I loved Halo, for example), but when I was a kid we had these outlined sketch drawings with numbers in them. Whatever the number was, that was the color you filled in. Don't think, just find the right crayon and try to stay within the lines.
That was a better game than recent CODs.

Re:Zenimax will lose, and in the worst way (1)

guises (2423402) | about a month ago | (#47064337)

They didn't even port idtech5 to directX (hence the dreadful problems the current Wolfenstein game is having running on current PCs).

I realize that this wasn't the point of your rant, but this bit is off. "Didn't even" are not words that you use to describe migrating a graphics engine from OpenGL to DirectX. That's an enormous project. It also isn't necessary - there's nothing wrong with OpenGL. idtech5 may not be so great, but this is not the reason.

why didn't zenimax patent this technology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47064801)

'trade secrets'? zenimax seems to have lawyers. If this proprietary 'technology' is so valuable, why didn't they patent it? That is the standard, legal way to protect technology in the United States. I think zenimax HQ did not appreciate the potential value of those ideas, and didn't patent it, and is now trying to cover its tracks.

Besides, the engine for Doom 3 was open sourced in 2011, and Valve released an Oculus version in 2013. Someone else could have looked at the Doom 3 code, and modified it for Oculus.

I personally thought that Zenimax was really buying the game engines that id would produce. Much like EA and the Frostbite Engine. At the time of the merger, I figured zenimax would have a few, or several, teams ready to make games based on id's game engines. They didn't. They could of had JC work on VR, and patent the stuff out the wazoo. Shows how smart zenimax management is.

Re:Zenimax will lose, and in the worst way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47065947)

Look at the graphics in Wolfenstein: New Order you idiot. That's why they bought iD, to get the iD engine with the fancy graphics and use it to push out rubbish games every year like another EA.

Re:Zenimax will lose, and in the worst way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47141997)

Online Casino [gamelend.net]
best online casino [gamelend.net]
Casino [gamelend.net]

good fuck occulous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060345)

they can go ahead and die now for everyone

they were dead to me a few months ago

You fail 1t (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47060455)

fuel1ng internal [goat.cx]

I coulda sworn... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47061055)

If I recall an article from earlier didn't Carmack not renew his contract with Zenimax because they had effectively dumped any and all VR technology and deemed them unprofitable?

So they are suing over something they declared unprofitable over semantics that are amazingly one sided. Welp, got to love litigious societies.

I hope facebook wins (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47061281)

I hope facebook wins and takes them to the cleaners.
And I hope Bethesda goes down the shitter with them, because that lot needs to pay for ruining Fallout!

the way i would handle it if i were facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47061347)

considering facebooks (for now) near infinite pockets the way i would do it is quite simple: i would buy up the whole company and fire the executives. all of them. then id sell anything valuable and scatter the company's ashes to the four winds. sure, i couldnt recoup the money completely, but i could make sure that those dimwits that tried challenging me will never find a job again. ever.

Good for them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47061541)

They are only protecting their IP which Facebook stole!

You see what it wants you to see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47063043)

Why did Facebook buy this murderous piece of glass?

It seems ZeniMax may have a case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47064849)

I'd be very keen on seeing Occulus VR's legal response to this.

As much as people seem to be bashing ZeniMax, after reading their complaint there are some very key points that Mr Carmack and Occulus VR will have a very hard time disputing or disproving. One of the key things being that Mr Carmack was under a 'work for hire' clause in his contract, and that not only did some work on the Rift take place in ZeniMax (iD) premesis (even reported on video by The Verge), and they used ZeniMax equipment, but they also communicated via ZeniMax owned email accounts. Like it or not, Mr Carmack was now effectively producing ZeniMax IP. That is the point to a 'work for hire' clause. The clause can even cover stuff done in spare time if it can be held up as directly related to ZeniMax IP, which it now was.

The actual complaint filing [scribd.com] makes for some interesting reading. Of course it has to be read with some pretty big grains of salt. I do find it hard to believe that ZeniMax actively pursued VR tech in a significant way before John worked on the Rift (that is not to say they didn't work on it at all). I do think that John rather than ZeniMax itself was a huge help for Occulus VR, but as John was subject to a 'work for hire' clause that work was now ZeniMax IP. 'Work for hire' clauses are not uncommon, and Mr Carmack probably should have known better, but I'd guess he got carried away in the 'this is a cool idea - I must make it work' mindset.

Anyway, that is just my $0.02

my dream outcome (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a month ago | (#47065035)

I really, really hope that Oculus gets basically shut down as a company. That would mean the most damage ever done to Facebook would be by Facebook itself, which would be hilarious and not remotely surprising. After they privacy violations and what an unbearable douchebag their CEO is, they deserve it.

Re:my dream outcome (1)

thunderbird32 (1138071) | about a month ago | (#47066685)

I don't. Even if you don't like the Rift now that Facebook has bought Oculus, the only reason Sony's VR headset is being released is to jump on the hype train. The Rift is necessary to provide the competition that is needed to drive the VR market. At the very least until another well funded company announces an upcoming headset. In any case, provided that Facebook stays hands-off on the Rift, it looks like a very compelling product.

Business as usual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47067805)

in the United States of Greed and Profits.

Online Casino (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47141973)

Gamelend.net is your #1 destination when looking for the best and latest online casino promotions. We have strong connections at all the leading online casinos and receive new on all the best online casino promotions first hand before everyone else!
You can trust us to be the first ones to know about any online casino promotion or newly released bonus code, and the first ones to let you know about it as well.

We can guarantee that all promotions and online casinos recommended by us have been thoroughly checked and reviewed before being posted up on Casino.

We give you our time, saving your time and money, checking and reviewing all the newest and most updated online casino promotions! Find here all the newest and best promotions and bonus offers in real time so you can save money while having fun!

A common belief is that all online casinos try to do is take money off their players. By checking in at Casino on a regular basis, you will pleasantly find out that not only is this belief not true, but the exact opposite is the case.

Land based casinos give their clients many perks, starting from complementary drinks, through lavish dinners, valet parking and free nights at luxury hotels. Online casinos don’t have such high overhead expenses and instead they are glad to reward players for their loyalty and give them free money and cool promotions or offer free cash or other perks to new players just to try them out.

If you’ve never played at an online casino, or are a newbie at online casinos, you will probably be overwhelmed and confused by the different types of bonuses on offer. You probably will be offered a welcome bonus, match deposit bonuses, no deposit bonuses,alternative payment method bonuses, and comp points are will most likely not know what to do with them, and what the rules are with regards to them. We aim to provide you information about all the ins and outs of these bonuses and promotions, such as wagering requirements, payout percentages, valid games and minimum deposit requirements, so you can reach an informed decision with regards to which promotions are worth participating in, which bonuses you should claim and which you should simply pass.

There are literally thousands of online casinos on the net nowadays and it’s become very difficult to know which are safe and reputable online casinos and which are a scam. We have also spent countless hours screening the good ones from the bad and you can count on having a good time at all our recommended online casinos to ensure that you only play at reputable online casinos where your money is safe. The main factor by which we have graded the online casinos reviewed on Casino is how attractive the promotions and bonuses offered are, combined with the variety of games offered, the quality of player support and obviously the safety and security offered. In online casinos that welcome US players we also focused on the ease and speed of deposits and withdrawals as this is a very sensitive issue at US online casinos. We have included a section explaining about the different factors you need to take into consideration whenchoosing an online casino to play at. Being aware of these factors may save you a lot of time, money and grief.

All online casinos recommended by CasinoPromoGuide.com have been checked and double checked to make sure that they are honest and will provide you, the player, with a safe, secure and most importantly secure gaming experience!

For your convenience we have created different sections for online casinos for US players and for those that unfortunately do not welcome US players.

Most online casinos accept different currencies such as US$, EUR, GBP, CAD$, AUD$, SEK, DKK and ZAR so you can play online casino games in your own currency without having to need a currency converter working in the background. For your convenience we have listed everything in US$ but have stated in each review which currencies ARE actually accepted at each specific online casino reviewed. In addition, you can visit our localized online casino sections as well.

We update our HOT promotions section on a daily basis, sometimes even a few times a day so we recommend you pay us a visit daily so you can keep in touch with the best promotions at the leading online casinos!
Online Casino [gamelend.net]
best online casino [gamelend.net]
Casino [gamelend.net]

The best online casino for U.S. players (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47142103)

By building the section honest online casino I was inspired by constant questions from players on various sites and forums. What casinos honest? Where to gamble? What casinos pay out winnings? How to find a reliable casino? According to statistics, almost every other player wants to be sure of the integrity of online casinos. And I think it’s quite logical if you play for real money. Agree, nice to get a well-deserved win, and all the more true. To play for real money casino recommend 7 presented in the table. This type of online casino are licensed and geographically. Each gambling house runs regular audits. The test results are published on an online casino and is available to each user.

Best Online Casinos Review [gamelend.net]
Online Casino [gamelend.net]
best online casino [gamelend.net]
Casino [gamelend.net]

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...