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ZeniMax Is Suing Samsung After Winning Its Case Against Oculus (cnn.com) 78

Games company ZeniMax successfully sued Facebook-owned Oculus for $500 million earlier this year, and now it has a new target in sight: Samsung. The company has filed a new lawsuit over Samsung's Gear VR headset, claiming that "Samsung knowingly profited from Oculus technology that was first developed at ZeniMax, then misappropriated by Oculus executive John Carmack," reports The Verge. From the report: Carmack, whose company id Software was acquired by ZeniMax in 2009, was one of the driving forces behind the Gear VR. While the headset was released by Samsung, it's described as "powered by Oculus," with heavy software optimizations developed by Carmack. But the lawsuit alleges that Carmack owed much of his success at Oculus to software he developed as part of a team at ZeniMax. Among other things, the Texas court filing claims that Carmack secretly brought Oculus (and former ZeniMax) employee Matt Hooper into id Software's offices to develop an "attack plan" for mobile VR, which Oculus would later take to Samsung. The Samsung Gear VR was also built on some of the same code as the Oculus Rift, which was the subject of ZeniMax's earlier lawsuit. ZeniMax's basic argument is that Samsung would have been aware of the lawsuit against Oculus, which was filed during the initial development of the Gear VR. But "Samsung continued to develop the Gear VR with full knowledge of ZeniMax's allegations and without obtaining any right or permission from ZeniMax to use any of its copyrights or other confidential information." The new lawsuit officially accuses Samsung of copyright infringement for using ZeniMax VR code in the Gear VR, as well as trade secret misappropriation, unfair competition, and unjust enrichment.
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ZeniMax Is Suing Samsung After Winning Its Case Against Oculus

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  • Are they raking in big wads of cash?
    • how is this unjust? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by goombah99 ( 560566 )

      This sounds like the perfect example of the proper use of intellectual property. I'm not privy to whether Zenimax's case is bogus or not-- I'm taking the trial outcome at face value. But if Carmack signed IP agreements when he was a zenimax employee and then used those for personal gain he was the one perfroming unjust enrichment. The whole point of investing in IP is to hope to strike it rich. If some one takes your crown jewels the law needs to support that.

      It doesn't matter that you might feel like

      • The basics:

        JC pushed and pushed Zenimax to get into VR and they turned up their nose to the ideas and JC worked some on the side (using sensor fusion work he did at armadillo aerospace and a shader that could correct for lens distortion, and some porting work on Doom3)

        Zenimax wanted nothing to do with VR but JC really liked it so he left and joined a company that got bought up for really big money. Zenimax got $$ in their eyes and started digging for anything they could pin on the people involved.

        It was fo

      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        But I don't see this as a patent trolling. They invested to create those ideas.

        Intellectual Property is not Ideas; it is the implementation of the Ideas....... Copyrightable code and Trade secrets.

        If the product contains a copy of code owned by ZeniMax, then they're due royalties or an ability to deny Samsung the ability to make and/or profit from the product.

        On the other hand, if there's no code in common, Samsung could potentially have a re-creation or an independent implementation not subject to the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Worthless and pointless fad, just like 3D.

  • This is my shocked face that Samsung would be named in a lawsuit alleging intellectual property theft, baseless or otherwise: :-|

    • This is my shocked face that Samsung would be named in a lawsuit alleging intellectual property theft...

      Oh right, Microsoft and Apple never [theregister.co.uk] would [usatoday.com] be [cnet.com], oh no deary me, perish the thought.

      • Don't worry ToughLove, Apple will be next in the firing line the day after they release anything with the word 'reality' in the description.
        After all, Apple being the biggest company in the world, they also have the deepest pockets. Despite the likes on Nokia, Samsung, Quallcomm and the rest all wanting part of their cash hoard, there will be more than enough to spread amongst all the other Patent Trolls based in East Texas.

      • Who said that those companies are good actors? I was just saying that Samsung is a repeated, proven, bad actor. IP theft. Collusion. Bribery. Price fixing. All proven in court.

        But good job using fanboy logic: One company being a shithead doesn't make other companies less shitty somehow. They can all be shitheads at the same time - shitheadism isn't mutually exclusive.

  • ... I think they're gonna string him out to dry on this one. Over a decade ago there was already stereoscopic and anaglyph 3d rendering code in Quake3. That I know of. (I have little reason to expect Quake2 and Quake1 didn't as well, but I haven't actually looked myself.) It's pretty clear to anyone paying attention that they had this VR plan cooking well before they sold iD to ZeniMax. Legal technicalities aside, ZeniMax appears to have a case here.

    • You sort of glossed over the fact that John Carmack is arguably the single greatest contributor to open source game rendering software in the history of mankind.

      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Narcocide ( 102829 )

        Yea, so? I also glossed over the fact that he sold out the entire gaming industry to make a quick buck with Facebook, and the fact that a guy that smart should have expected a law suit when he decided to violate the terms of his contracts with his previous employers.

        • It's been suggested that Zenimax has no interest in VR, and so Carmack quit and used a modified Doom 3 to demo some VR, and implemented some 3D stenciling that he also implemented separately for Zenimax, and so is being sued on tenuous basis.

          Like, you got paid to draw a shadow once, so you can never draw another, different shadow again.

  • by Vektuz ( 886618 ) on Monday May 15, 2017 @10:03PM (#54423621)
    We'll see VR again when the patents expire, I guess.
    • Maybe all those researchers will have to leave the US to go work in freer parts of the word - like China , or even Europe- where they can develop their products without such risks.

      VR for all - except the US!

      • They have no interest in allowing the VR market to die and render their patents meaningless.

        They may be in a position to require licensing for a large number of devices, which is the primo spot for any tech company to be in.

        If you can assure yourself licensing revenue, then everyone else can take the risks associated with development, production, and distribution. You get to tax the winners.

        Since I have heard nothing about Zenimax VR gear, I assume their development is stalled. We hear about a lot of VR har

    • by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Monday May 15, 2017 @11:46PM (#54424003)

      It's 3D printing all over again.

  • Huh... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Monday May 15, 2017 @10:18PM (#54423681)

    So essentially, Carmack will never (or at least until certain patents run out) be able to work on VR again because anything he comes up with now builds on what he already knows, and he knows that stuff from developing what this Z-something now owns? Harsh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "id Software was acquired by Z-something in 2009".... maybe he could have tried not selling his soul to the devil before he complained about the heat.

      you're all idiots.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by kamapuaa ( 555446 )

      The lawsuit is over software he developed at Zenimax for Zenimax, not some interesting ideas he had in his head. It's a much more solid case than the Waymo executive who took the data to Uber.

    • According to the link (which is another Slashdot summary so ymmv), the original case wasn't a patent lawsuit, it was a copyright lawsuit, and a non-disclosure agreement violation. So it will be a looooong time before that runs out.
    • No patents this was copyright lawsuit. The very specific BS part is that Zenimax convinced a jury that "Non-litteral copying" was a thing. And that although no code was cut and pasted into anything Oculus has, the fact that he had originally written the code and had access to it that now anything he writes similar to it is also copyright infringement.

      It's a pretty scary case really.

      • So this will probably appeal into a Federal court, where it will get tossed out, and Oculus probably won't think to push for sanctions against Zenimax for frivolous lawsuits and abuse of the court system?

    • The Texas court probably broke and/or disregarded the law. It happens on a regular basis there, that is why patent trolls (like crybaby Zenimax) go shopping for judges there.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday May 15, 2017 @10:39PM (#54423747)
    the CEO of ZeniMax was a day trader who more or less got kicked out of the profession for being too skeezy. Let that one sink in for a moment.

    But his company makes great games so, like Blizzard, gets a pass for just about anything.
    • the CEO of ZeniMax was a day trader who more or less got kicked out of the profession for being too skeezy. Let that one sink in for a moment.

      Even without knowing that, it's clear he is a fucking asshole and Zenimax will never get a cent more of my money, ever. Spent quite a bit on them in the past, but that's done now.

  • by tomxor ( 2379126 ) on Monday May 15, 2017 @10:55PM (#54423819)
    Or something equivalent, zenimax claims are basically all "We own whatever comes out of Carmacks head"... why don't they just cut to the chase and file suit against Carmack requiring all creative thought to instantly be property of Zen-ownallyourthoughts-max.
    • Or something equivalent, zenimax claims are basically all "We own whatever comes out of Carmacks head"...

      I the case had been tried in California they would have been promptly tossed out of court on their asses.

  • Weird (Score:4, Interesting)

    by locater16 ( 2326718 ) on Monday May 15, 2017 @11:05PM (#54423849)
    I'm convinced the boardroom owners of Zenimax and whatever rabid lawyers they employ just get a hardon from lawsuits. The "victory" against Oculus was actually against Palmer and another Oculus employee personally for breaking NDA's, which they did. The charges against Carmack and for "stolen technology" were all declared as not guilty.

    So the "victory" provides them no legal backing nor precedent for this new suit, but they're doing it anyway because Zenimax is run by some crazed bullies that probably wank it to thoughts of bossing poor people around. Or they literally just hire hookers and then boss them around, I dunno.
  • Typical Texas kangaroo court hack job. What more needs to be said? Home of the Bushes, how did that work out?

  • I know Oculus lost the legal battle with Zenimax, but I thought Carmack was ultimately absolved of any wrongdoing.

    Too bad for VR I guess.

    • by Piata ( 927858 )
      Carmack was absolved, Palmer Luckey was not. Zenimax keeps mistating the actual court results because they're downright crazy.
  • Like many of you, I've been around for a while, and I've seen many trends in IT come around again and again. One of those trends is Carmack (or his company) being sued. I have no idea if any of the lawsuits against him/his companies have been bogus or frivolous, but every few years, I keep seeing his name pop up.
  • But copyrights TOTALLY encourage innovation and competition, by letting the company first-to-market sue the pants off its up-and-coming competitors, potentially ruining the industry and setting back technological development by about 15 years until patents expire.

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