ZeniMax Media has filed a lawsuit against Samsung, claiming its Gear VR headset was created using stolen intellectual property from the Bethesda parent company. The lawsuit comes a few months after the company's successful lawsuit against Oculus for similar claims.
According to the legal documents ZeniMax filed against Samsung, the Gear VR headset was created using intellectual property that John Carmack used in breach of an NDA with ZeniMax Media. In the documents, ZeniMax states that Samsung “has used, and continues to utilize, ZeniMax’s 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.'”
When ZeniMax originally sued Oculus last year, the company was asking for a whopping $6 billion in damages from Oculus. A Texas jury awarded ZeniMax $500 million for infringement of the NDA breach, but said there was no evidence of theft. That was a big win for ZeniMax, not just for the compensation, but because the result also set a precedent that has now allowed ZeniMax to pursue additional damages from Samsung.
In addition to suing Oculus for damages, ZeniMax has also requested that all Oculus Rift sales be halted until the proceedings were completed. It’s likely the company will make a similar request with Samsung’s Gear VR headset.
It will be interesting to see how this lawsuit against Samsung plays out for ZeniMax. Considering the fact that the Samsung Gear VR headset is built using the Oculus technology, and the win ZeniMax had against Oculus, it seem things will likely end well for ZeniMax in this case. That said, there may be some restrictions on the legal abilities ZeniMax has against Samsung directly, since the headset uses Oculus technology, not Samsung’s alone.
On the flip side, John Carmack, who was a central figure in ZeniMax’s lawsuit against Oculus, has recently filed a lawsuit of his own against his former employer, ZeniMax. The former CTO of ZeniMax claims he wasn’t paid the final installment the company owed him from its purchase of id Software for $150 million.
For now, we will have to wait and see how things play out for ZeniMax and Samsung. At least right now, it seems ZeniMax is set for another healthy payday, though nothing is final until a judgment is declared.