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The Courts Businesses Displays Patents Hardware

Oculus Founder Hit With Lawsuit 122

An anonymous reader writes: Palmer Luckey, founder of VR headset-maker Oculus, has been sued by a company accusing him of taking their confidential information and passing it off as his own. Total Recall Technologies, based in Hawaii, claims it hired Luckey in 2011 to build a head-mounted display. Part of that employment involved Luckey signing a confidentiality agreement. In August, 2012, Luckey launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift headset, and Facebook bought his company last year for $2 billion. TRT is seeking compensatory and punitive damages (PDF).
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Oculus Founder Hit With Lawsuit

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  • If this is true, why didn't he get hit with a law suit earlier?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      If this is true, why didn't he get hit with a law suit earlier?

      It wasn't enough to pay the lawyers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Kind of Ironic that Zuckerburg got a similar lawsuit after facebook became popular and now FB owns Oculus

  • Sounds like they're a little butt hurt because their product... well, I've never heard of it.

    A confidentiality agreement is NOT a non-compete agreement which I doubt they could really enforce anyway since a lot of states refuse to recognize them.

    As long as he didn't steal anything from them or give out their internal secrets nothing will come of this and he may even get them to cover his legal expenses in the end. I'd bet $5 that this lawsuit is more about getting their name heard than anything else.

    • Sounds like they're a little butt hurt because their product... well, I've never heard of it.

      Wow, really?

      Their name is Total Recall Technologies. I've heard about them decades ago [youtube.com].

      • Sounds like they're a little butt hurt because their product... well, I've never heard of it.

        Wow, really?

        Their name is Total Recall Technologies. I've heard about them decades ago [youtube.com].

        Right. After they borrowed their very name from some prior art, it seems a bit like the pot calling the kettle a gateway kitchen accessory.

        To be fair, (FTA), Senior Luckey was hired by the plaintiff to build a head-mounted display, which is seemingly word-for-word the letter of his Kickstarter.

      • Their name is Total Recall Technologies. I've heard about them decades ago

        And there have been references to goggles or headsets that provide virtual reality since at least the 1930's, so if you're going to sue someone for taking your idea, you might want to make sure it wasn't someone's idea since way before you were born.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    • A confidentiality agreement is NOT a non-compete agreement which I doubt they could really enforce anyway since a lot of states refuse to recognize them.

      Non-competes are legally unenforceable when they stop you realistically changing jobs within your field. Things get murkier when your new employer isn't in that field already, and you're the one that brings the into it. It's murkier still when your new employer is YOU. This isn't a question of non-compete, it's a question of trade secrets, because when the employee is working from the ground up, his prior knowledge is based entirely on the previous employer's project, whereas when there's a partly-built pro

  • TL;DR version (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @05:34PM (#49760193) Homepage Journal

    He didn't give hinself shock treatment to erase his memory of the time he worked with us and he failed to deny that he existed during the years of 2011 and 2012. Even though he didn't steal our IP (or we would have sued for that), we want to sue anyway because we fumbled the future and he didn't!

  • I googled the life out of this and could not find them. I did find a company by that name in Panaji, Goa, India, but I do not see how they may be related. I'm puzzled.

    • I googled the life out of this and could not find them. I did find a company by that name in Panaji, Goa, India, but I do not see how they may be related. I'm puzzled.

      But they have a YouTube video, so clearly this is all on the up and up.

  • Did the 3d power or the custom display tech required for HTC/oculus exist in 2010-2012? I mean head mount displays with len's been around but i dont think any of them worked worth a crap. i dont believe they have a leg to stand on seeing how both oculus/valve had some of the best of the best work on there setups just not one person

    • by geoskd ( 321194 )

      Did the 3d power or the custom display tech required for HTC/oculus exist in 2010-2012?

      In a word: Yes

    • by Khyber ( 864651 )

      Yes. I had head-mounted dual-screen (640x480) displays for gaming back in the days of the GeForce 5 and 6.

      Horrible contrast ratio (shit TFT LCDs) but great for watching porno DVDs without anyone else watching.

    • by sbaker ( 47485 )

      HMD's have been around since LONG before there were 3D graphics on the PC at all. They'd been used (for example) on military flight simulator back when you'd need a million dollars of mainframe hardware to generate a 3D image. I very much doubt that any of this tech is actually new. Probably someone like Evans & Sutherland were the first to do it - and they had 3D graphics back in the late 1970's. I doubt that much of the general concept is still patentable - so this argument is probably over some

    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      it's just a high resolution phone screen and two lenses. and gyro/accel chips(which existed as well)

      the tech to do it existed most certainly. high resolution displays small/big enough cheaply? nope. not even for the rift1.

    • Did the 3d power or the custom display tech required for HTC/oculus exist in 2010-2012? I mean head mount displays with len's been around but I dont think any of them worked worth a crap.

      Very often the adoption of a novel technology has more to do with the caprice of companies and organisations than the technical capabilities. I first used a touch-screen device in 1989 which was an add-on for standard 14in (S)VGA monitors priced at around $200. It interfaced with the computer through an RS-232 connection, s

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday May 23, 2015 @06:18PM (#49760371) Journal

    Patent trolls are like pimps without the cool clothes and '72 Riviera with fur-lined windows.

    They both make their money off other people's work.

    • what patent troll? in fact, what patents?

      the article says he's being sued for fraud and breach of contract (whatever the merits of that may be). this seems to be a matter of trade secrets, which is basically the opposite of patents.

      • the article says he's being sued for fraud and breach of contract

        And they waited until the Oculus Rift is ready for release to file suit.

        This is patent trolling by another name. They're trying to make money off someone else's work.

        • So we agree that it's not patent trolling. Great.

          You can keep on making up whatever justifications you want in order to keep swaying with the popular opinion.

  • ... then Facebook is not really permitted to freely use that technology either, and they would have a case against the person they bought it from as well. Certainly they would at least be entitled to any monies they had already given the founder for rights to Occulus Rift, and punative damages could even be applicable.

    Total Recall could, of course, license the tech to Facebook, and probably make a tidy profit while doing so.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    PalmerTech as he exists on the MTBS boards has a demonstrated development cycle on the rift stretching back to 2009.
      Arguably the most important developments were made throughout 2010 with the PR1 concept.
      This includes documented evidence of all the major design elements that are evident in the rift to date.
    Unless he sold them the IP, then they have no leg to stand on.
    Nothing like a beat up to hide the facts.

    Source: 5 seconds with google.

    • Unless he sold them the IP, then they have no leg to stand on.

      "IP" is not any sort of legal construct. There is not protection anywhere for "IP". Do you mean "patent"? Why don't you say "patent"?

      • by tepples ( 727027 )

        "IP" is not any sort of legal construct.

        Intellectual property is a category including copyright, patent, trademark, trade secret, and right of publicity. It has meant that in the United States Code since 1996 when Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act became law.

        Do you mean "patent"? Why don't you say "patent"?

        Because a single product may be covered by interlocking or overlapping copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets that are licensed as a package.

    • The point here isn't whether Palmer Luckey started development of the rift before being involved with Total Recall Technologies, it is whether any of the information that Palmer Luckey acquired from TRT or any of the ideas/improvements he came up with working for TRT (Source: 5 seconds with google for the term 'work for hire') found their way into the Oculus Rift. If TRT can prove anything like that, and they can prove NDA agreements, they may indeed have a case.

      The timing here is interesting, but not surpr

  • For Oculus to "pick" Facebook to take them over. Mark has history at being good at this (Hellooo Winklevoss twins)
  • I hope it kneecaps them, serves them right for pulling the rug out from people when they gave the impression it was going to be open source.
  • It's like that famous saying, you know, "If you build it, they will sue."

Mathematics is the only science where one never knows what one is talking about nor whether what is said is true. -- Russell

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