Rev VR Podcast (Ep. 61): Lawyer Eric Greenbaum Discusses ZeniMax Claims Against John Carmack and Oculus VR

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ZeniMax, John Carmack’s former employer, is claiming that Carmack and Oculus VR owe them for technology that was developed while Carmack was still with id Software. Eric Greenbaum, New York lawyer and VR developer, joins me to discuss the possible ramifications of this case.

The last time Eric was on the Rev VR Podcast, we discussed the “Oculu vs. Oculus” case that had everyone in the VR community pretty worked up. Now, ZeniMax is taking up arms to fight for what they claim is their intellectual property.

Eric explains that the specific piece that ZeniMax is upset about are the tweaks Carmack made in the tracking system used in the Oculus Rift. Without these tweaks, the Rift may not have been a viable consumer product. Then again, maybe his tweaks were nothing more than obvious VR adjustments that shouldn’t be patentable. It is entirely possible that ZeniMax may have a valid argument against Carmack and Oculus, especially if a contract was signed. We really don’t have all of the information yet.

Will this case directly impact release dates or future tech enhancements in the Oculus Rift? Probably not. Is this going to cost a bit of money to either settle or fight? Probably. As things progress, we will have Eric back on as a guest and we will discuss things further.  Thanks to Eric for being such a wonderful guest.

Eric is the founder of the NYC VR Meetup.  If you are in the area, check it out!

Be sure to catch up with Eric Greenbaum on his blog:  http://greenbaumpatent.wordpress.com/

And check out Eric’s endeavors into the VR development world:  http://jemavr.wordpress.com/.

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Comments

  1. Chris Given says

    I think it would be funny if Facebook came along and bought Zenimax… That way Carmack could go back to work with ID making games for VR like he wanted to in the first place after perfecting the hardware… It’s happened before!! Sue us will you? How about we buy you and fire all the short sighted management!!

  2. Kelvin Skewes says

    One thing I thought you were going to mentioned but never seemed to is: the fact that Valve is in a similar position to Zenimax in terms of their history with Oculus, i.e. tech was developed by their employees and subsequently there was quite a shift of those employees from their original company to Oculus. Valve is obviously not going to sue Oculus but I thought it would have been interesting to contrast Zenimax and Valve’s positions.

    • David Hothersall says

      The difference here is that Valve have shared all their research with Oculus for the good of the development of VR in general. Zenimax, while they may have some sort of case are acting in a negative way with their only intent to be financial gain.

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