John Carmack Responds To Zenimax's Accusations Of "Stealing" VR Tech

John Carmack reacted to the accusations of 'stealing' the code he wrote in the first place. As Carmack claimed, 'no work that he has ever done has been patented.'

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Activemessiah1267d ago

How can you accuse someone of stealing his own creation? Can't stand the Oculus acquisition but i'm with Carmack on this one.

john21267d ago (Edited 1267d ago )

Funny thing is that Zenimax Media was not willing to let Carmack work on this while he was at id Software, thus basically forcing him to leave id Software. And now after Oculus has been acquired by FB, Zenimax sues them.

theshonen88991266d ago

Dear Zenimax, this and the Mojang "Scrolls" BS makes me think a whole lot less of your company.

porkChop1266d ago (Edited 1266d ago )

Apparently it has to do with his contract at id Software. Basically anything he created while there was considered property of Zenimax. Carmack knew about that and worked out an exemption for anything relating to his aerospace company Armadillo Aerospace. However, John Carmack did NOT work out a similar exemption for his relation with Oculus while working at id. He knew how his contract worked yet he still developed code and technology for Oculus. He should have known better.

But please don't think I'm siding with Zenimax. I'm not and I don't agree with what they're doing. If they really cared they would have said something before. The only reason they're speaking up now is because Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion and Zenimax wants a piece of that money. I hope they don't get it.

NarooN1266d ago

Honestly Carmack was most likely bored at id. He'd been very interested in VR for *ages*, it was something he'd been thinking about since the 90's at least. His work at id was pretty much done -- the id Tech 5 engine was finished and there wasn't much else going on at id besides DooM 4, which will probably release when Half-Life 3 and Beyond Good & Evil 2 do.

I wouldn't be surprised if he had no qualms about leaving id to focus completely on Oculus development. I don't blame him at all, really.

rawshack1266d ago

What if you are working on this at home in your on spare time your telling me zenimax owns that ?? If he had kids something he created your saying zenimax owns them to ?? I would hardly say thats a strong case ?

TFJWM1266d ago

@rawshack Yes that exactly the way it works. At alot of development companies anything you create while under contract with them they own. It is really quite common. It's a different field but take Stan Lee he didn't own anything he created under Marvel

papashango1266d ago


It's not uncommon bro. Which is why when you get older. Never sign something you haven't read.

There's some good lessons to be learned here.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1266d ago
Knightshade1266d ago

Because when you write something on company time and on the company dime, it's not really yours. That's pretty much the law in any state.

specialguest1266d ago

What if he wrote his code on his time off? Are you saying his entire time even when he's not on the clock is still the companies time?

starchild1266d ago

But if they didn't acquire any patents they don't have a leg to stand on. They can't own his mind or tell him he can never work on VR solutions ever again just because he had worked on VR while working for them.

starchild1266d ago

Yep, this is pretty much what I said in another article yesterday.

"Let's see the patents, ZeniMax. You don't own his mind and the fruits of his labors for all time. If he created something while working for you that you were able to patent then you might have a case.

Oculus VR already created a high quality VR headset before Carmack was ever hired. Most of the improvements we have seen since then are things that have been widely known in the VR community or were being worked on by other engineers like Michael Abrash at Valve."

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1266d ago
aliengmr1266d ago

Zenimax is probably fishing, hoping that whatever Carmack was doing with OVR would be considered theirs.

rdgneoz31266d ago (Edited 1266d ago )

Here's a long quote from an earlier article.

"The proprietary technology and know-how Mr. Carmack developed when he was a ZeniMax employee, and used by Oculus, are owned by ZeniMax. Well before the Facebook transaction was announced, Mr. Luckey acknowledged in writing ZeniMax’s legal ownership of this intellectual property. It was further agreed that Mr. Luckey would not disclose this technology to third persons without approval. Oculus has used and exploited ZeniMax’s technology and intellectual property without authorization, compensation or credit to ZeniMax. ZeniMax and Oculus previously attempted to reach an agreement whereby ZeniMax would be compensated for its intellectual property through equity ownership in Oculus but were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution."

If they were fishing, they got them to bite. But seeing as the payment wasn't to their liking they're taking things further.

As for what others have mentioned, a lot of companies and research institutes put into their contracts that anything you create while working for them belongs to them. May be sh!tty, but you should always read the fine print.

aliengmr1266d ago

I think the question is what specifically are they claiming they own. The Rift isn't the sole creation of John Carmack so they must be going after, either, something they know he created or they are "casting a net" to find something from the time he was there.

Either way it sucks.

cyclindk1266d ago

I invented alls.. Gimme monies

specialguest1266d ago

I patented the space bar. Give me money. In fact, all of yous above and below give me money.

cyclindk1266d ago

I do t use spacebar, transparent font, i use "r"s to make spaces

specialguest1266d ago

Damn you. Ok, you don't have to pay.

rawshack1266d ago

This is the same bullshit as the fallout online story from 2 years ago zenimax and there high powered lawyer's picking on people because they git money

tanookisuit1266d ago (Edited 1266d ago )

RIP Black Isle Studios. I'm still pissed at Zenimax/Bethesda for that they did.

porkChop1266d ago

You mean Interplay. Zenimax/Bethesda had nothing to do with Black Isle shutting down. They bought the Fallout IP years later.

porkChop1266d ago

Zenimax was in the right for that lawsuit though. They had a contract with Interplay regarding Fallout Online. Interplay breached that contract. The game was supposed to have progressed to a certain point by a certain date and Interplay was extremely far behind. Apparently they had hardly done anything at all.

tanookisuit1266d ago

Yeah, whoops! Thanks for the correction.

aLucidMind1266d ago (Edited 1266d ago )

When you're under contract to make something, what you make belongs to the company. You provided the labor and idea, you do not get ownership of it. That's how it works when you come up with ideas for a corporation. That said, if the company didn't patent it, then they likely have no grounds unless they had fine print in the employee's contract. A form of no-compete clause might be possible.