ZeniMax Responds To John Carmack’s Comments After $500 Million Verdict

by Ian Hamilton • February 2nd, 2017

The war of words continues between ZeniMax and Oculus in the wake of a $500 million mixed verdict issued yesterday by a Texas jury.

Earlier today Oculus CTO John Carmack noted on Facebook “the internet would have viciously mocked the analysis” of an expert witness ZeniMax called in the case whose testimony is under seal. “I still have a level of morbid curiosity about the several hundred-page report.”

ZeniMax first publicly accused Oculus of theft of its technology in 2014, shortly after the announcement that Facebook was to acquire the startup for billions. ZeniMax alleged the Rift VR headset was built using its own technology and that Carmack, formerly of ZeniMax-owned id Software, had used its resources to offer essential help in developing the Rift.

“I never tried to hide or wipe any evidence, and all of my data is accounted for, contrary to some stories being spread,” Carmack wrote.

Now ZeniMax, which threatened an injunction to stop Oculus from using its purported code, has issued a statement responding to the Doom developer:

In addition to expert testimony finding both literal and non-literal copying, Oculus programmers themselves admitted using ZeniMax’s copyrighted code (one saying he cut and pasted it into the Oculus SDK), and Brendan Iribe, in writing, requested a license for the “source code shared by Carmack” they needed for the Oculus Rift. Not surprisingly, the jury found ZeniMax code copyrights were infringed. The Oculus Rift was built on a foundation of ZeniMax technology.

As for the denial of wiping, the Court’s independent expert found 92% of Carmack’s hard drive was wiped—all data was permanently destroyed, right after Carmack got notice of the lawsuit, and that his affidavit denying the wiping was false.

We will of course continue to follow the situation. Oculus has vowed an appeal.

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  • KT

    Are transcripts available yet? The expert testimony will be part of the public record even if the full report isn’t.

    • Bradley Lawrence

      Should be an entertaining read for sure. We can still mock them, even if the case is over.

    • Bundy

      Heard it was sealed. Could be wrong.

      • KT

        Looks like you’re right. That’s disappointing.

  • Get Schwifty!

    Wait — so they requested a license for code….? Sounds like they at least tried to work with Zenimax. Did they hold out and go to court because they are greedy dicks or was the offer of licensing just poor? I suspect the former….

    • NooYawker

      Maybe a little of both, corporations by definition are greedy dicks.

    • KT

      Yes, they tried. They offered Zenimax 2% equity subject to dilution, asking for Carmack to share source code in exchange, and for Zenimax to provide a license to use some of it. That’s the ‘request’ they’re referring to here.

      Zenimax’s counter-offer was for 15% equity with no dilution, and they threatened to stop Carmack working on VR if Oculus didn’t accept. Oculus made another offer, the details of which aren’t public, and Zenimax rejected it and carried out their threat.

      I haven’t been able to find any information regarding the other claims they made here.

  • John Daniels

    Congratulations zenimax! You just got a huge payday for being unable to finish a project in a reasonable timeframe. What a bunch of wankers.

    • user

      i know that carmack called you and the rest of their fans – or “the internet” as he likes to call them – to arms… but, you know you dont have to engage in a fictional battle where you call big companies names in a comment section, right? 😀

      • John Daniels

        Haha, OK, “user.” I guess you’re part of the damage control team from zenimax right? Or perhaps you’re just a lowly drone who thinks this is your ticket up in the company. Won’t work either way.

        • user

          theres no need to reveal your mindset again. it was already very clear.

  • This s**t will never end… appeals over appeals and other nonsense for years…