Data retrieved from John Carmack's hard drive may prove pivotal in the case between Zenimax and Oculus VR, with a court-appointed expert claiming they prove that the latter had filed 'factually inaccurate' statements in its defence.
Zenimax first targeted Oculus VR, the Facebook-owned company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, back in May 2014
with the claims that id Software's John Carmack had taken VR-related intellectual property belonging to Zenimax over to Oculus VR when he joined the company the year before. 'The proprietary technology and know-how Mr. Carmack developed when he was a ZeniMax employee, and used by Oculus, are owned by ZeniMax,
' the company claimed in a statement, pointing to a 2012 document signed by Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey which acknowledged Zenimax's ownership of said IP.
At the time, Oculus VR disputed Zenimax's claims with the suggestion it was little more than a cash-grab following Facebook's two-billion-dollar acquisition of the company. 'No work I have ever done has been patented,
' Carmack claimed, reiterating his long-held stance against software patents which had seen him threaten to quit id Software should the technology he developed for games like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake be used to file a patent application. 'ZeniMax owns the code that I wrote, but they don't own VR.
Later that month, Zenimax would officially file suit against Oculus VR
, with a judge ruling the case may go ahead
. Since then, the gears of justice have been slowly grinding with little to report - until a computer forensic expert appointed by the court claimed to have found evidence that Oculus VR has filed 'statements and representations that have been sworn to and are before the court [which] are factually inaccurate,
' and that 'opinions expressed in expert reports that are before the court [...] are demonstrably inaccurate.
According to an analysis of the court order by Polygon
, the findings from John Carmack's computer are tantamount to evidence that Oculus VR lied under oath, something of which courts traditionally take an extremely dim view and a good way to quickly lose a court case. Details on exactly what evidence the expert has claimed to recover are not yet available, as they are presently sealed, but the court is certainly taking the claims seriously: the judge has further ordered Oculus VR to turn over communications with Carmack regarding the seizure of his hard drive, presumably to see if discussions were made about data that should be illegally destroyed prior to its collection.
Neither Zenimax, Oculus VR, nor Facebook have responded to requests for comment on the matter, with Oculus VR being given two weeks to comply to the court's demands for more information.