Oculus VR representatives may have lied under oath and presented inaccurate expert reports as part of the company’s defense in a federal lawsuit filed by ZeniMax Media surrounding the creation of the Oculus Rift VR headset, according to court filings.
Thursday, a judge ordered a court-appointed computer forensic expert to detail to ZeniMax the findings, which led that expert to say that he discovered evidence on John Carmack's computer that shows that “statements and representations that have been sworn to and are before the court are factually inaccurate.” He also found information that proved “opinions expressed in expert reports that are before the court that are demonstrably inaccurate."
It’s unclear what specifically on Carmack’s computer the expert is referring to because much of the court documents in the case remain under seal. It’s also unclear if the more detailed report from the forensic expert will be sealed when it is provided to ZeniMax.
The judge also ordered Oculus to release redacted communications with Carmack about the April 2014 collection of his hard drive for examination.
Oculus has two weeks to comply, according to the motion.
In a separate motion, the court ordered that tech company Samsung has three weeks to provide details to Zenimax about the work the company did with Oculus in co-creating the Samsung Gear VR, which runs on Oculus software.
Rockville, Maryland-based ZeniMax sued Oculus in May 2014, alleging that the VR startup misappropriated trade secrets in the development of the Oculus Rift headset. The lawsuit was filed weeks after ZeniMax publicly accused Carmack of providing technology to Oculus. Oculus has said it will disprove those claims.
According to ZeniMax's complaint, Oculus co-founder and Rift inventor Palmer Luckey — along with a half a dozen ex-ZeniMax employees who are now working at Oculus — are building the Rift based on years and millions of dollars' worth of ZeniMax's research and copyrighted code.
Oculus denies the allegations, saying the lawsuit came to a head after Facebook purchased the company and as a "chance for a quick payout."
This August, ZeniMax amended its complaint to be more blunt about the accusations against Oculus, saying the company misappropriated trade secrets, benefitting from years of the company's research and experimentation with virtual reality technology.
"For many years, ZeniMax invested tens of millions of dollars in research and development, including research into virtual reality and immersive technologies. In 2011 and 2012, John Carmack, a singularly experienced and highly proficient ZeniMax programmer who was at that time Technical Director for ZeniMax’s Texas-based subsidiary, id Software, conducted research to address technological issues associated with virtual reality," the complaint reads. "Carmack and other ZeniMax employees conducted that research at ZeniMax offices, on ZeniMax computers, and using ZeniMax resources."
Zenimax declined to comment on the recent developments and we've reached out to Oculus Rift and Facebook for comment. We will update this story when they reply.
You can view both of this week's rulings below: