June 27, 2017

ZeniMax takes Samsung to court over Gear VR headset

17 May 2017, 02:16 | Mildred Bowen

With a legal win against Oculus, ZeniMax turns to a new target: Samsung's Gear VR

ZeniMax is suing Samsung after winning its case against Oculus

After the company has successfully managed to bag a $500 million verdict against Facebook-owned VR venture Oculus earlier this year, it is now gunning for leading Korean giant - Samsung.

According to The Verge, ZeniMax claims in the lawsuit that Oculus executive John Carmack helped to develop the code that's used in the Gear VR headset while he still worked at ZeniMax's id Software development studio. Obviously the subpoenas gathered in something interesting in ZeniMax is willing to go to court again.

While the previous judgement against Oculus is likely to work in ZeniMax's favour, it's worth pointing out that the jury didn't find Oculus guilty of misappropriating trade secrets.

The suit also alleges that Carmack secretly brought Matt Hooper, a former ZeniMax employee and current Oculus employee, into id Software's offices after hours in 2013 to "talk about Oculus" and develop and "attack plan" for mobile VR that they would later take to Samsung. The latest claim alleges that Samsung should have been aware of the dispute with Oculus, having in mind that it was reported in NYT, WSJ and USA Today, and should have seized to utilize and benefit from its Gear VR line.

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Samsung's Gear VR - a low-end version of the high-end Oculus Rift - uses Oculus software and so therefore also infringes its property, ZeniMax claims. The base of the claim, as per court documentation, refers to ZeniMax Media's dispute with Oculus VR in 2012, where the judgement ordered Oculus to pay $500m in damages to Zeni, for violating its VR patents. The by-product of this partnership was the Samsung Gear VR, which displays the "Powered by Oculus" phrase, and includes some exclusive Oculus features. Specifically, ZeniMax has alleged Oculus built its mobile software development kit off the back of that stolen information - and that resulted in the Gear VR.

Samsung has yet to respond. It is seeking damages, profits from sales, royalties, injunctive relief and punitive damages.

The lawsuit against Zenimax continues the long-winding legal battle between Oculus and Zenimax, and with Samsung now joining the fray, there seems to be no end in sight.

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