Tuesday, 16 May 2017 12:02

ZeniMax sues Samsung over Gear VR headset

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Winning a lawsuit against Facebook-owned Oculus appears to have emboldened game maker ZeniMax to take on another big company. It filed a suit over Samsung's Gear VR headset, claiming that the latter has profited from Oculus technology developed at ZeniMax and used without permission by Oculus executive John Carmack, in the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas last Friday.

Carmack owned id Software, a company that was bought by ZeniMax in 2009. He is said to be responsible for the Gear VR headset in large part; it is described as being powered by Oculus.

The ZeniMax suit claims that Carmack gained his expertise as part of a ZeniMax team and used it to good effect at Oculus.

The suit says that in 2012, ZeniMax provided Oculus access to its VR-related IP under the terms of an NDA.

"The NDA provided, among other things, that ZeniMax alone owned all the technology that it was disclosing, as well as any technology derived from it, and further provided that the technology could be used only as approved by ZeniMax," the suit said.

ZeniMax claims that at this time Oculus did not have a viabnle VR product.

"Oculus had a rudimentary headset that lacked fundamental VR functionality. To establish its VR business for its own commercial gain, Oculus breached the NDA, violated ZeniMax’s intellectual property rights, and exploited ZeniMax’s VR technology," the suit claimed.

"Samsung, which had desired to release a mobile VR headset and sell greater quantities of its mobile devices, was aware, or reasonably should have been aware, that Oculus acquired its VR technology through this breach of the NDA and in violation of ZeniMax’s intellectual property rights.

"Despite this awareness, Samsung nonetheless obtained and used ZeniMax’s VR technology from Oculus, without ZeniMax’s consent."

ZeniMax is seeking damages, profits from sales of “infringing works” and “use of trade secrets,” royalties, injunctive relief and punitive damages, plus lawyers' fees, court costs and interest.


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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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