Media giants clash over Rift - espionage, allegations of incompetence and billions of dollars
The legal wrestling match of the millennium is about to get bloody. A Dallas court room will have millions of eyes on it from across the globe. Art thou ready to rumble?
In the red corner, at a super heavyweight total equity of $2.6 billion, is ZeniMax Media Incorporated, a company that is no stranger to sorting things out in court.
In the blue corner, an ultra heavyweight with a total equity of $44.2 billion, Facebook Incorporated doesn't run from a legal grappling match either. Now, as the owner of Oculus, it will now defend its VR subsidiary against accusations of stealing technology.
The stakes are high, and the blood-soaked ring will be the battleground that decides the future of VR technology as we know it.
The heart of the dispute goes back to 2014, when ZeniMax accused Oculus of using its intellectual technology in creation of the Oculus Rift VR headset. Specifically, ZeniMax claims that John Carmack took technology he had developed while working for its developer id Software and passed it to Palmer Luckey of Oculus, enabling Luckey to create the Rift.
This promises to be a Battle Royale. Two billion dollars in damages are on the table, as if the future of VR wasn't enough.
"With the start of the trial of our case in Federal District Court in Dallas against Defendants Facebook, Oculus and its management, ZeniMax and id Software welcome the opportunity to present substantial evidence of the Defendants' misappropriation of our Virtual Reality (VR) intellectual property. That evidence includes the theft of trade secrets and highly confidential information, including computer code", according to ZeniMax, who are not pulling their punches.
Furthermore, ZeniMax even claims that the quaint tale of Luckey perfecting the Rift in his mum and dad's garage is an untruth - and that without its tech he was going nowhere. That's a harsh move by any standard.
A lawyer for Zenimax has already called the affair "one of the biggest technology heists ever".
Mark Zuckerberg himself is to appear in court to testify that Facebook did not knowingly acquire stolen technology.
The air of the arena is burning with adrenaline, and a murderous hunger for fat loot is flaring in the combatants' eyes.
"We're eager to present our case in court. Oculus and its founders have invested a wealth of time and money in VR because we believe it can fundamentally transform the way people interact and communicate. We're disappointed that another company is using wasteful litigation to attempt to take credit for technology that it did not have the vision, expertise, or patience to build", Oculus has retorted, with big brother Facebook towering behind its back.
Lawyers, to arms! Fat fees will abound for all - so let first blood hit the floor!