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ZeniMax: Samsung’s Gear VR tech conceived at id

“Powered by Oculus”

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Gear VR 9
Gear VR

Former id Games execs John Carmack and Matt Hooper formulated an “attack plan” for mobile VR that would eventually lead to the creation of Samsung’s Gear VR, while secretly working in id’s offices late one night, according to a new lawsuit filed by ZeniMax last week in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Carmack, who would later go on to work for Oculus, snuck Hooper — recently been fired from his role as id’s creative director — into the id offices in July, 2013. That’s where the two worked up a plan, according to the suit. Later that night, Hooper emailed his contacts at Oculus disclosing that he and Carmack formulated an “attack plan” for the mobile VR work that they would undertake together at Oculus, according to the suit.

The lawsuit, filed Friday evening by ZeniMax, claims that Samsung’s Gear VR headset — powered by the international company’s cell phones — uses technology that infringes on ZeniMax tech and trade secrets because it relies on Oculus software.

The lawsuit filed against Samsung seeks damages, profits from the sales of “infringing works” and “use of trade secrets,” royalties, injunctive relief and punitive damages. It also is asking for attorney fees, court costs and interests.

In March, Carmack sued ZeniMax for $22.5 million for what he said were unpaid earnings.

Both suits come after a Dallas, Texas jury in February awarded half a billion dollars to ZeniMax after finding that Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey, and by extension Oculus, failed to comply with a non-disclosure agreement he signed.

In awarding ZeniMax $500 million, the jury also said that Oculus did not misappropriate trade secrets as contended by ZeniMax.

Of the $500 million, Oculus is paying out $200 million for breaking the NDA and $50 million for copyright infringement. Oculus and Luckey each have to pay $50 million for false designation. And former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe has to pay $150 million for the same, final count.

ZeniMax writes that despite winning its case against Oculus, Samsung, which should have been aware of the outcome, continues to use the technology and even released an updated version of the Gear VR which continues to say it is “powered by Oculus.”