The ongoing legal drama between Oculus chief technology officer John Carmack and his former employer ZeniMax continues today with Carmack suing the company.
The complaint filed on behalf of Carmack alleges ZeniMax refuses to make a final payment stemming from the $150 million purchase in 2009 of id Software, the company Carmack co-founded in the ’90s most well known for creating the Doom franchise.
Carmack’s lawsuit alleges he’s owed $22.5 million still from that purchase, and that ZeniMax “made it clear that the company would not voluntarily comply on a timely basis” because of “claimed violations of Mr. Carmack’s Employment Agreement and ZeniMax’s alleged intellectual property rights.” A Texas jury issued a $500 million decision against Oculus and co-founders Brendan Iribe and Palmer Luckey in a recent case due to copyright infringement and “false designation”, but the filing by Carmack says “ZeniMax did not bring any claim for breach of contract against Mr. Carmack as part of that lawsuit.”
ZeniMax responded to a request for comment with the following prepared statement:
We have reviewed John Carmack’s latest legal complaint which is completely without merit.
We note that this is Mr. Carmack’s second complaint against ZeniMax. In the recently completed trial of ZeniMax Media Inc. et al v Oculus VR et al, in which Mr. Carmack was a named Defendant, and in which ZeniMax was awarded $500 million in damages for misappropriation of its intellectual property, Carmack had counterclaimed, seeking damages for ZeniMax’s alleged violations of his employment agreement. The jury flatly rejected Mr. Carmack’s complaint, and found for ZeniMax. Mr. Carmack was personally found guilty by the jury of the theft of ZeniMax’s property, including thousands of confidential ZeniMax documents he secretly took when he quit his employment, and his theft of the entire source code to id’s latest game, RAGE, including the id tech 5 engine. In addition to those crimes, it was revealed by an independent court-appointed computer forensics expert, that upon receiving notice of the Oculus lawsuit, the files on Mr. Carmack’s Oculus computer were intentionally wiped–destroying the evidence, and that a sworn affidavit Carmack filed with the Court denying the wiping was false. The wiping occurred right after Mr. Carmack researched on Google how to wipe a hard drive. And there was much more.
Apparently lacking in remorse, and disregarding the evidence of his many faithless acts and violations of law, Mr. Carmack has decided to try again. We look forward to presenting our response to Mr. Carmack’s latest allegations in Court.
Here’s the document (PDF) stating Carmack’s case, with an excerpt included below.
Oculus vows to appeal the jury’s decision while ZeniMax is seeking to stop Oculus from using any tools or code it allegedly derived from work Carmack did for Oculus while he was at ZeniMax.