Looks like ZeniMax’s day in court isn’t over just yet
After winning their suit against Occulus Rift to the tune of $500 million, Zenimax is now filing a suit against Samsung, whose VR technology is “powered by Oculus.”
Most notably, some the technology that John Carmack leaked to Oculus was critical to developing the software and developer kits needed to power the partnership between Oculus and Samsung.
Here are the facts
They may have a point, sort of. Just like they sort of had a point in their other lawsuit.
Let’s start with the Oculus lawsuit, which helps set the legal precedent that will surely come up in the new trial. Oculus owes half a billion dollars to ZeniMax Media because a court found the company and its founder, CEO Palmer Luckey, guilty of utilizing business intelligence that was in violation of a non-disclosure agreement and several “cease and desist” notices.
That intelligence came from John Carmack, a former ZeniMax Media employee who worked with Luckey to develop an Oculus Rift prototype before Luckey formally hired him.
For that, they have been found guilty. That’s an important link, because if ZeniMax can indeed prove that Carmack disclosed the specific software components that are the backbone of the Samsung Gear VR, they have a very strong case.
It is also important to note that Oculus was found not guilty of quite a few charges in this case.
Most importantly, the charges of stealing trade secrets and destroying evidence were rejected by the court.
Now, for the trial at hand.
According to the Ars Technica report, ZeniMax alleges they have “security tapes” of Carmack letting another employee, Matt Hooper, in the office to view confidential company intel. Furthermore, on the same night as that office visit, “[Hooper] e-mailed contacts at Oculus to say he and Carmack had “formulated an ‘attack plan’ for the mobile VR work that they would undertake at Oculus.”
Those new allegations may bolster their case for misappropriation of trade secrets in this new trial.
The other point to consider is the level of negligence on the part of Samsung. If Samsung accepted the Oculus technology under the belief that the technology was obtained through legitimate channels, it is hard to see a judge finding them liable for this suit. However, if Samsung had reason to believe the technology was acquired through questionable channels, and they accepted it anyway, this case could end poorly for them.
Either way you slice it, the outcomes of this should be both fascinating and significant to the direction of the VR industry.