Zenimax sues Samsung for ‘stolen’ tech in Gear VR

For commercial airline passengers, reality bites. Qantas and Samsung are going to help passengers escape to a more pleasant virtual reality with Samsung's Gear VR.

Three months after Zenimax Media LLC won a $500 million judgment against Facebook Inc.’s Oculus for copyright infringement, the game publisher now has set its sights on Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Samsung teamed up with Oculus for the development of Samsung Gear VR, leading Zenimax to filed a lawsuit Friday claiming that Samsung’s mobile VR device uses the same misappropriated technology that was the subject of its suit against Oculus. Zenimax said in its filing that Samsung should have been aware of Zenimax’s claim against Oculus early in the development of Gear VR.

“As a result of the Oculus Action, and the allegations and verdict therein, Samsung knows, or reasonably should know, that the Samsung Gear VR — a product marketed as being ‘powered by Oculus’—is based upon ZeniMax’s intellectual property and includes information obtained by Samsung from Oculus, [Palmer] Luckey, and [John] Carmack in violation of the NDA , ZeniMax’s copyrights, and Carmack’s employment agreement,” Zenimax said in its filing. “Notwithstanding its knowledge of the Oculus Action and the allegations and verdict therein, Samsung has used, and continues to utilize, ZeniMax’s VR technology (or derivatives thereof) that was misappropriated by Oculus (now owned by Facebook) in its Samsung Gear VR which continues to be ‘powered by Oculus.'”

Zenimax argues that Samsung “stands to realize substantial value” from its technology, and the company is seeking damages “that will fairly and fully compensate it for Samsung’s infringement.”

Although Zenimax was ultimately successful in its legal battle against Oculus and its founders, Palmer Luckey and Brendan Iribe, the company failed to convince a judge fully that former employee John Carmack stole trade secrets when he left to work at Oculus.

Carmack has been public about his distaste with Zenimax’s claims against Oculus, and he denounced the $500 million judgment in a post on Facebook. More specifically, Carmack criticized the expert witness called by Zenimax.

“I wasn’t allowed to read the full expert report, only listen to him in trial, and even his expert testimony in trial is under seal, rather than in the public record,” Carmack said. “This is surely intentional — if the code examples were released publicly, the Internet would have viciously mocked the analysis. I still have a level of morbid curiosity about the several hundred-page report.”

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