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Oculus CTO John Carmack Settles Legal Disputes With Bethesda Parent Zenimax

Oculus CTO John Carmack Settles Legal Disputes With Bethesda Parent Zenimax

Oculus CTO John Carmack posted on Twitter to announce that the long running legal disputes between himself and Zenimax are now over, and that all claims between the two parties have been released.

The legal clash between Zenimax and Oculus first emerged in 2014, just after the Facebook acquisition of Oculus, when Zenimax filed a lawsuit claiming that Oculus used Carmack’s VR work created while working for Zenimax, and therefore the intellectual property of Zenimax, in order to develop the Rift. In fact, Zenimax claimed that an NDA that Palmer Luckey had signed as far back as 2012 would cover any of Carmack’s work.

In 2016, Zenimax expanded their complaint, alleging that John Carmack personally copied Zenimax code to a USB stick for use at Oculus on the Rift, and that Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe had assisted this theft by lying to the press about Luckey’s inventing skills.

The case was finally heard before a jury in early 2017, in which Zenimax asked for a total of $6 billion – $2 billion in compensation and $4 billion in damages. While the jury found that Palmer Luckey, Brendan Iribe, and Oculus violated the NDA, they also found that Carmack did not steal trade secrets as Zenimax had claimed. Oculus and its co-founders Luckey and Iribe were found to owe ZeniMax $500 million as a result of copyright infringement and “false designation.” You can read the entire jury decision here.

As a response to Zenimax’s legal claims against him, last year Carmack decided to follow Zenimax up on $22.5 million that he claimed was still owed to him from the acquisition of id Software, which he co-founded in the 90’s. id Software produced many of the most significant games of that decade, including Wolfenstein, Doom, and Quake, and was acquired by Zenimax in 2009.

Now this month, Carmack has confirmed that this dispute between himself and Zenimax is over, but mentioned that the case between Zenimax and Oculus is still being appealed. It is uncertain how the Oculus appeal will develop, but we’ll keep you updated once any news emerges.

Correction: Details regarding the outcome of the Zenimax case were described incorrectly in a previous version of this post. It has since been updated with corrected details and additional links for context.

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