ZeniMax, the media company which successfully sued Facebook’s Oculus for $US500 million (£387 million), has a new target: Samsung.
The company has filed a new US lawsuit against Samsung over its Gear VR headset.
The suit alleges Samsung has profited from intellectual property first developed at ZeniMax. We first saw the lawsuit reported at Polygon.
ZeniMax’s new suit is rooted in that earlier, successful fight against Oculus. In that suit, ZeniMax accused Oculus of stealing its virtual reality tech by poaching one of its employees, John Carmack, and five of his staff. Carmack ran a video game development firm within ZeniMax called id Software, and joined Oculus VR as CTO in 2013. The company also claimed Oculus founder Palmer Luckey had breached a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax.
Samsung’s Gear VR was co-created with Oculus. And according to the new lawsuit, that means Samsung is now infringing on ZeniMax’s copyright.
ZeniMax has accused Carmack of communicating “secretly” with Oculus, and then stealing thousands of ZeniMax documents when he left. Specifically, ZeniMax has alleged Oculus built its mobile software development kit off the back of that stolen information — and that resulted in the Gear VR.
Here’s the key paragraph from the lawsuit:
“The code and confidential documents stolen by Carmack from ZeniMax permitted Oculus to secretly develop a mobile software development kit … and related software for the Samsung Gear VR. This mobile SDK and related software obtained and utilised by Samsung from Oculus uses ZeniMax’s trade secrets and copyrighted code and was obtained by Oculus (and subsequently by Samsung) in violation of the contractual obligations owed by Oculus and Luckey to ZeniMax under the NDA and in violation of the contractual obligations owed by Carmack under his employment agreement with ZeniMax.”
ZeniMax argued that Samsung should have been aware of its lawsuit against Oculus, because it was filed while the Gear VR was in the works.
The jury for ZeniMax’s earlier suit didn’t actually find that Oculus had guilty of stealing trade secrets, but did find Luckey violated his NDA.
And confusingly, Carmack is suing ZeniMax for $US22.5 million (£17.4 million) because he claims the company still owes him money, according to TechCrunch.
Samsung has yet to comment on the suit.