Oculus VR Founder Accused of Fraud

Oculus VR Founder Accused of Fraud

Palmer Luckey

Hawaii-based company Total Recall Technologies is claiming Luckey stole technology developed while under contract for his prototype Rift.

Whenever a company comes out with a cool new tech thing, it will inevitably be followed by a slew of lawsuits claiming "nuh-uh! We did it first!" Oculus VR, having come out with a cool new tech thing, is just as vunerable to said lawsuits. The latest one come from Hawaii-based company Total Recall Technologies, and is accusing Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey of breach of contract, and fraud.

Total Recall Technologies claims it hired Luckey in 2011 to create a "prototype head mounted display" after signing a contract and nondisclosure agreement. It is accusing Luckey of using feedback, and information obtained during his stint at the company to develop his prototype Oculus Rift unit, which he took to Kickstarter in 2012.

According to legal publication The Recorder (warning: paywall), Total Recall is seeking claims of breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing against Luckey, along with conversion and constructive fraud against both Luckey and Oculus VR.

Despite first being announced nearly four years ago, the consumer version of the Rift will only be arriving in 2016 (provided, of course, the company doesn't lose too many lawsuits).

Source: The Recorder (Paywall) via IGN

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And just now they make these accusations? Not say, during the Kickstarter?

Daemascus:
And just now they make these accusations? Not say, during the Kickstarter?

During the Kickstarter they were a two-bit start up with no money. Now, Facebook has bought them for a billion fucking dollars. That's the reason right there.

Total Recall Technologies? That name is just making me imagine the fake head disguise Arnie wore in the movie being used as VR headsets.

It'll be pretty juicy to see if this company has the proof, money and legal chutzpah to go against Facebook's army of lawyers. Maybe they have a good case and either the money to last litigation or can reach a settlement. I'll be paying attention for the next year or two to see how this goes.

Steven Bogos:

Daemascus:
And just now they make these accusations? Not say, during the Kickstarter?

During the Kickstarter they were a two-bit start up with no money. Now, Facebook has bought them for a billion fucking dollars. That's the reason right there.

Yeah, it seems like a tech company would at least have someone keeping tabs on the immediate ventures of a former employee with an NDA. They might have waited through the Kickstarter and first dev kits to see a big juicy prize in the form of a huge buyout. Then they spent the past year building up a legal case.

Considering Oculus has been major news on tech sites for years now, this feels like a desperate attempt to try and get some money for nothing. Should be interesting. But it's things like this that could ruin the dream of VR.

*GASP*
tech firms stealing from one another?! Violating the obviously sacred trust of two indie companies?!
Oh....say it ain't so!!
Are you telling me E3 is also political?!
Oh fuck off!!

Steven Bogos:

Daemascus:
And just now they make these accusations? Not say, during the Kickstarter?

During the Kickstarter they were a two-bit start up with no money. Now, Facebook has bought them for a billion fucking dollars. That's the reason right there.

TWO billion fucking dollars.

Silentpony:
*GASP*
tech firms stealing from one another?! Violating the obviously sacred trust of two indie companies?!
Oh....say it ain't so!!
Are you telling me E3 is also political?!
Oh fuck off!!

RIP Mr. Williams

Steven Bogos:

Daemascus:
And just now they make these accusations? Not say, during the Kickstarter?

During the Kickstarter they were a two-bit start up with no money. Now, Facebook has bought them for a billion fucking dollars. That's the reason right there.

Well, despite my utter lack of faith and respect for Facebook, I really hope they use some of that money burning a hole in their pants to absolutely crush this lawsuit.

Shit, this is the second legitimate claim against Luckey.

http://ia601507.us.archive.org/3/items/gov.uscourts.cand.287721/gov.uscourts.cand.287721.1.0.pdf

Non-paywall PDF to the legal document. I got it from http://www.theregister.co.uk/2015/05/23/total_recall_technologies_sues_facebook_oculus/

They hired him to make a navigable, three-dimensional VR environment having ultra-wide field of view...

11. On May 27, 2011, Igra and Seidl filed a patent application, entitled
"System and method for creating a navigable, three-dimensional virtual reality
environment having ultra-wide field of view."
That application later issued as
United States Patent No. 9,007,430.
12. In 2011, Seidl and Luckey continued their discussions with Seidl
requesting that Luckey build a prototype to Seidl's specifications with parts paid for
by the Partnership. Seidl explained to Luckey that with the Partnership's initial
payment to Luckey, he expected exclusive rights to the design. Luckey agreed.
13. At all relevant times, the information provided to Luckey by TRT was
confidential, and TRT expected the information to remain confidential.
14. On August 1, 2011, Luckey executed a written "Nondisclosure,
exclusivity and payments agreement" contract with Seidl on behalf of the
Partnership. Two witnesses also executed the agreement on behalf of Luckey at
Luckey's direction: Tom Allan and Jeff Bacon.
15. Pursuant to the terms of the parties' contract, Luckey agreed, among
other things, to maintain information received from Seidl in the strictest confidence
and not to use confidential information received from Seidl for his own benefit.
17. Throughout the latter half of 2011 and into 2012, Seidl provided
confidential feedback and information to Luckey in order to improve the design of
the head mounted display.
18. Without informing the Partnership, on information and belief, Luckey
took the information he learned from the Partnership, as well as the prototype that
he built for the TRT using design features and other confidential information and
materials supplied by the Partnership, and passed it off to others as his own.
19. For instance, without informing the Partnership, in 2012 during the
term of the parties' agreement, Luckey pursued a Kickstarter campaign to promote a
highly immersive, wide field of view, stereoscopic headmounted display at an
affordable price - a device that Luckey named the Oculus Rift.
20. On June 12, 2012, Luckey formed Oculus LLC.

ZeniMax also had a well established reason to sue.

It is a crying shame that no one evaluated ZeniMax's claims from their perspective. Had a news agency actually torn through the details of that case it would have shed a heck of a lot of light on Luckey and Carmack's questionable behaviors. I mean, Carmack literally took components of headsets he was developing for Bethesda and added them to Luckey's prototype and ZeniMax submitted documentation of him saying that in a public interview. So that first prototype that made the journalism community gasp in shock? Mostly ZeniMax tech. Even if they have since evolved they own a tremendous debt to ZeniMax regardless of how anyone feels about he company.

So this creates a new timeline of events that most likely means Facebook will lose a lot more money in lawsuits as well as Luckey seeing potential jail time unless they settle out of court.

Timeline:

1. Luckey develops a VR headset for Total Recall Technologies (TRT) and gives them a prototype.
2. Luckey keeps a prototype for himself and starts passing it off as his own, even sending it to John Carmack under the guise that Luckey is a VR enthusiast and this is his own model (it's possible that he did this while working with TRT to get help on the project he was a part of).
3. Carmack, who is working at ZeniMax, has six prototypes in his office for just this sort of thing and adds company property to Luckey's prototype. (In so doing, Carmack commits the same fraud that Luckey did with TRT except Carmack also acquired a non-disclosure from Luckey on ZeniMax's behalf which exonerates Carmack personally from the action and shifts the damage back on Luckey).

This is really bad. This really needs to have a fully fleshed out investigative story built around it.

MiskWisk:

Steven Bogos:

Daemascus:
And just now they make these accusations? Not say, during the Kickstarter?

During the Kickstarter they were a two-bit start up with no money. Now, Facebook has bought them for a billion fucking dollars. That's the reason right there.

Well, despite my utter lack of faith and respect for Facebook, I really hope they use some of that money burning a hole in their pants to absolutely crush this lawsuit.

Luckey produced a prototype VR headset with an ultra-wide field of view (one of Luckey's hallmark claims in the Kickstarter) for this company in August of 2011 and was under a nondisclosure that prevented him from revealing the information or using it for his own personal benefit. Both of which terms he broke when he sent an additional prototype to Carmack and then built a business around it.

If all of the documentation checks out, and they cited real documents and multiple witnesses, then Luckey may be going to jail even if Facebook settles the financial claims out of court.

Hairless Mammoth:
It'll be pretty juicy to see if this company has the proof, money and legal chutzpah to go against Facebook's army of lawyers.

Next week: Total Recall ind aquired in hostile take over by Facebook.
Week after: Total Recall ind to close, all staff laid off, Zuckerberg unavailable for comment.

Silentpony:
*GASP*
tech firms stealing from one another?! Violating the obviously sacred trust of two indie companies?!
Oh....say it ain't so!!
Are you telling me E3 is also political?!
Oh fuck off!!

This is my lawyer. I like to consider it more "financial companion".
If you only have one product, and I like to call it my "cash cow", use your patents well. Always sue the subsidiary, don't sue the company that made the purchase.

So now I have to watch Robin on Broadway again. Thanks for that.

Remus:
So now I have to watch Robin on Broadway again. Thanks for that.

Personally, I would take pride in that statement. :D

Well, that... Sucks.

Not because I especially care what Luckey may or may not have done, but that this could collapse the entire VR scene before it's even gotten off the ground properly.

Whether they had the right to or not, Oculus largely open-sourced the rift design.
And now there's derivatives made by other companies.

There's no telling what sony's headset is based on, but I would be rather surprised if Valve's headset didn't borrow elements from the rift design.
And then there's the FOVE, which, while it has a different exterior design, and adds eye tracking, quite clearly shares basic functional elements of it's display, lens and tracking mechanisms with the rift headset.
(even possibly using the exact same screen, given they claim to be working with Samsung on things)

An NDA breach, or worse, patent violation in the very foundation of the rift would have knock-on effects that could destroy several other headsets, and possibly take out the first real possibly viable attempt at VR right here and now.
Poof. Just like that. Gone.
Because of lawyers, and lawsuits... >_>

CrystalShadow:
Well, that... Sucks.

Not because I especially care what Luckey may or may not have done, but that this could collapse the entire VR scene before it's even gotten off the ground properly.

Not really, in the excitement over the product they've spawned a number of competitors. Some that are already quite comparable.

Lightknight:

CrystalShadow:
Well, that... Sucks.

Not because I especially care what Luckey may or may not have done, but that this could collapse the entire VR scene before it's even gotten off the ground properly.

Not really, in the excitement over the product they've spawned a number of competitors. Some that are already quite comparable.

Yeah, but you conveniently left out the part where I explained that many of them copied oculus's core design.
If it comes to a patent case, these derivative designs would be screwed over just as much as oculus itself would be...

Remus:

Silentpony:
SNIP

This is my lawyer. I like to consider it more "financial companion".
If you only have one product, and I like to call it my "cash cow", use your patents well. Always sue the subsidiary, don't sue the company that made the purchase.

So now I have to watch Robin on Broadway again. Thanks for that.

Serious props for making me spill coffee on my shirt from laughing. Very well done. Have an adorable baby griffon!

Software patents: Proving themselves a bad idea one lawsuit at a time.

CrystalShadow:
Because of lawyers, and lawsuits... >_>

Wouldn't it be more accurate to say it was because two people stole the technology to make the rift in the first place?

I want VR to be a thing, I really do, but not like this. This is the second time that the oculus has been at the center of fraud and theft allegations, and it looks like those allegations are true.

Good thing Facebook has the money to bat this away, I'd be worried otherwise.

flying_whimsy:

CrystalShadow:
Because of lawyers, and lawsuits... >_>

Wouldn't it be more accurate to say it was because two people stole the technology to make the rift in the first place?

I want VR to be a thing, I really do, but not like this. This is the second time that the oculus has been at the center of fraud and theft allegations, and it looks like those allegations are true.

Good thing Facebook has the money to bat this away, I'd be worried otherwise.

It would. The heart of the problem appears to be that oculus released something based on stolen tech.
But, because of what they then did with it afterwards, patent lawsuits would cause far more widespread damage than the direct repercussions for oculus of having stolen that tech ever could...

CrystalShadow:

Lightknight:

CrystalShadow:
Well, that... Sucks.

Not because I especially care what Luckey may or may not have done, but that this could collapse the entire VR scene before it's even gotten off the ground properly.

Not really, in the excitement over the product they've spawned a number of competitors. Some that are already quite comparable.

Yeah, but you conveniently left out the part where I explained that many of them copied oculus's core design.
If it comes to a patent case, these derivative designs would be screwed over just as much as oculus itself would be...

Copyright infringement is harder to work out in court than proving that someone signed a nondisclosure agreement while working on that project for an existing company. Look at Samsung and Apple for example. Did Samsung base their work off of Apple products? Come on, of course they did. Has Samsung or consumers really been punished for them doing so? No, in fact we now have a much more vibrant market with far more cheaper alternatives and Samsung is making money hand over fist or whatever the damn saying is.

Right now, two different companies have Luckey breaching their nondisclosure agreements during the production of the Oculus Rift in a timeline that actually makes sense. The first company paying him to develop a prototype with a second company making the prototype viable.

That is a slam dunk from a prosecution attorney's side. As long as these companies and reproduce the non-disclosure agreement (and both can) then Luckey is in trouble. ZeniMax has amassed a tremendous amount of information against them too.

I get that we all want the Occulus Rift to succeed. But damned if we're not dealing with some highly unethical and illegal practices by the company that Facebook bought. Even Facebook would be a victim here but perhaps moreso if their due process agents failed to discover these complaints floating around.

ZeniMax was actually issuing complaints before Facebook was even a notion in the wind. So the $2 billion is certainly a motivator but so is having your work stolen by an employee or contractor under nondisclosure.

Now, did Sony or the other headset manufacturers copy the Rift's designs and patents? Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on how the patents were written and how they were written. It sounds like this new company coming forward may have had a patent on ultra-wide display VR. In any event, most of the time it's more about paying to use the patent rather than getting up front permission to do so. Our current copyright law just isn't equipped to deal with major companies making this much profit off of stealing ideas. They ding companies for millions of dollars in damages for something they made hundreds of millions off of. It's a complete failure as a deterrent. But a specific individual who actually signed agreements not to disclose the information or use it for personal benefit? The legal system is quite well equipped to deal with that both in civil and criminal court. Luckey could go to prison for longer than some murders at the point.

I mean, corporate espionage regarding this kind of money is prosecuted more harshly than violent crimes. If facebook just settles these disputes out of court then they will be saving Luckey from a lifetime of prison.

Lightknight:

CrystalShadow:

Lightknight:
Not really, in the excitement over the product they've spawned a number of competitors. Some that are already quite comparable.

Yeah, but you conveniently left out the part where I explained that many of them copied oculus's core design.
If it comes to a patent case, these derivative designs would be screwed over just as much as oculus itself would be...

Copyright infringement is harder to work out in court than proving that someone signed a nondisclosure agreement while working on that project for an existing company. Look at Samsung and Apple for example. Did Samsung base their work off of Apple products? Come on, of course they did. Has Samsung or consumers really been punished for them doing so? No, in fact we now have a much more vibrant market with far more cheaper alternatives and Samsung is making money hand over fist or whatever the damn saying is.

Right now, two different companies have Luckey breaching their nondisclosure agreements during the production of the Oculus Rift in a timeline that actually makes sense. The first company paying him to develop a prototype with a second company making the prototype viable.

That is a slam dunk from a prosecution attorney's side. As long as these companies and reproduce the non-disclosure agreement (and both can) then Luckey is in trouble. ZeniMax has amassed a tremendous amount of information against them too.

I get that we all want the Occulus Rift to succeed. But damned if we're not dealing with some highly unethical and illegal practices by the company that Facebook bought. Even Facebook would be a victim here but perhaps moreso if their due process agents failed to discover these complaints floating around.

ZeniMax was actually issuing complaints before Facebook was even a notion in the wind. So the $2 billion is certainly a motivator but so is having your work stolen by an employee or contractor under nondisclosure.

Now, did Sony or the other headset manufacturers copy the Rift's designs and patents?

True, true. But oculus crumbling would be a lesser disaster than dragging down the entire industry in one go. Which a patent could theoretically do.
Losing oculus would be bad, but not catastrophic.
Patent issues with very basic design elements of current VR tech on the other hand... At best you'd get clumsy workarounds... (look at all the awful d-pad like things that were designed because of Nintendo's patent on it...)

CrystalShadow:

Lightknight:

CrystalShadow:

Yeah, but you conveniently left out the part where I explained that many of them copied oculus's core design.
If it comes to a patent case, these derivative designs would be screwed over just as much as oculus itself would be...

Copyright infringement is harder to work out in court than proving that someone signed a nondisclosure agreement while working on that project for an existing company. Look at Samsung and Apple for example. Did Samsung base their work off of Apple products? Come on, of course they did. Has Samsung or consumers really been punished for them doing so? No, in fact we now have a much more vibrant market with far more cheaper alternatives and Samsung is making money hand over fist or whatever the damn saying is.

Right now, two different companies have Luckey breaching their nondisclosure agreements during the production of the Oculus Rift in a timeline that actually makes sense. The first company paying him to develop a prototype with a second company making the prototype viable.

That is a slam dunk from a prosecution attorney's side. As long as these companies and reproduce the non-disclosure agreement (and both can) then Luckey is in trouble. ZeniMax has amassed a tremendous amount of information against them too.

I get that we all want the Occulus Rift to succeed. But damned if we're not dealing with some highly unethical and illegal practices by the company that Facebook bought. Even Facebook would be a victim here but perhaps moreso if their due process agents failed to discover these complaints floating around.

ZeniMax was actually issuing complaints before Facebook was even a notion in the wind. So the $2 billion is certainly a motivator but so is having your work stolen by an employee or contractor under nondisclosure.

Now, did Sony or the other headset manufacturers copy the Rift's designs and patents?

True, true. But oculus crumbling would be a lesser disaster than dragging down the entire industry in one go. Which a patent could theoretically do.
Losing oculus would be bad, but not catastrophic.
Patent issues with very basic design elements of current VR tech on the other hand... At best you'd get clumsy workarounds... (look at all the awful d-pad like things that were designed because of Nintendo's patent on it...)

But that's what I'm saying, we're much more likely to be looking at a Samsung V Apple workaround where they just do whatever the heck they want to do and settle it in court later rather than anything going full halt. It usually still ends up being profitable for the big guys.

Besides, what do you think they copied that Oculus had a patent on? A six to nine inch screen? They couldn't patent that, LG, Samsung and Panasonic and Sony already make those and license out the use of those patents. Motion control? There's a ton of patents on that including patents that can also be licensed. So many workarounds.

What do you believe Sony or any of these other companies copied from the Oculus Rift that the Rift can claim is uniquely theirs? I'd be more concerned about software copyright being copied like Carmack was accused of (and subsequently re-wrote all of the code they'd borrowed from ZeniMax under non-disclosure in response to ZeniMax lawyering up).

None of this will break the market. There is nothing Oculus brought to the table that can be considered a truly unique lynchpin upon which all of the market stands. There's some interesting ideas they had about persistence of frames that work but Steam developed those ideas to help the Rift and in doing so didn't protect their IP so there would be a good case for it being public domain.

Lightknight:

CrystalShadow:

Lightknight:
Copyright infringement is harder to work out in court than proving that someone signed a nondisclosure agreement while working on that project for an existing company. Look at Samsung and Apple for example. Did Samsung base their work off of Apple products? Come on, of course they did. Has Samsung or consumers really been punished for them doing so? No, in fact we now have a much more vibrant market with far more cheaper alternatives and Samsung is making money hand over fist or whatever the damn saying is.

Right now, two different companies have Luckey breaching their nondisclosure agreements during the production of the Oculus Rift in a timeline that actually makes sense. The first company paying him to develop a prototype with a second company making the prototype viable.

That is a slam dunk from a prosecution attorney's side. As long as these companies and reproduce the non-disclosure agreement (and both can) then Luckey is in trouble. ZeniMax has amassed a tremendous amount of information against them too.

I get that we all want the Occulus Rift to succeed. But damned if we're not dealing with some highly unethical and illegal practices by the company that Facebook bought. Even Facebook would be a victim here but perhaps moreso if their due process agents failed to discover these complaints floating around.

ZeniMax was actually issuing complaints before Facebook was even a notion in the wind. So the $2 billion is certainly a motivator but so is having your work stolen by an employee or contractor under nondisclosure.

Now, did Sony or the other headset manufacturers copy the Rift's designs and patents?

True, true. But oculus crumbling would be a lesser disaster than dragging down the entire industry in one go. Which a patent could theoretically do.
Losing oculus would be bad, but not catastrophic.
Patent issues with very basic design elements of current VR tech on the other hand... At best you'd get clumsy workarounds... (look at all the awful d-pad like things that were designed because of Nintendo's patent on it...)

But that's what I'm saying, we're much more likely to be looking at a Samsung V Apple workaround where they just do whatever the heck they want to do and settle it in court later rather than anything going full halt. It usually still ends up being profitable for the big guys.

Besides, what do you think they copied that Oculus had a patent on? A six to nine inch screen? They couldn't patent that, LG, Samsung and Panasonic and Sony already make those and license out the use of those patents. Motion control? There's a ton of patents on that including patents that can also be licensed. So many workarounds.

What do you believe Sony or any of these other companies copied from the Oculus Rift that the Rift can claim is uniquely theirs? I'd be more concerned about software copyright being copied like Carmack was accused of (and subsequently re-wrote all of the code they'd borrowed from ZeniMax under non-disclosure in response to ZeniMax lawyering up).

None of this will break the market. There is nothing Oculus brought to the table that can be considered a truly unique lynchpin upon which all of the market stands. There's some interesting ideas they had about persistence of frames that work but Steam developed those ideas to help the Rift and in doing so didn't protect their IP so there would be a good case for it being public domain.

The main thing the oculus headset did (ignoring where it may have stolen concepts from) is the highly simplified lens assembly, and the concept of compensating for terrible lenses in software, rather than doing it with the lenses themselves.

That particular arrangement wasn't really used by any VR headset that had existed up until that point, and while not nessesarily ideal from a quality perspective, allowed for a comparatively huge field of view (about 100 degrees), and, importantly, brought the cost down to reasonable levels.

That's nothing to sneeze at, and I have enough reason to believe it would be possible to patent that particular arrangement of lenses and screen with software based compensation.
That's unique enough to be patentable, but, considering what it would mean, that could cause a lot of problems if it's held hostage.

I mean, it's definitely a worst-case scenario type thing, because even with patents you often can get workarounds or deals being made, but it still wouldn't be pretty.

I'm a little disappointed that this suit isn't for something unrelated to that dizziness machine that will be gone from the market within two years of release.

templar1138a:
I'm a little disappointed that this suit isn't for something unrelated to that dizziness machine that will be gone from the market within two years of release.

The integration of the move to compensate for tilt and the additional resolution largely pushes back the dizziness issue by a fair margin. If the only thing you've experienced was the first dev kit then you've got quite a different world ahead of you with the final product (assuming it's at least the same as the final dev kit but hopefully a bit better).

I'd say the important thing to realize is that it isn't going to be for FPS games. Not the ones we currently play where we hope around and spin 360 degrees in a moment's notice to catch an enemy just right. But this is going to be awesome for a wide variety of other gameplay types including simply watching media for the purpose of escapism.

The things that make you nauseous? It's things like FPS titles. Not sitting on your couch watching a movie in a digital movie theater. If you haven't had the opportunity to enjoy one like that, then I hope you have a friend that's got the new dev kit set up.

CrystalShadow:
The main thing the oculus headset did (ignoring where it may have stolen concepts from) is the highly simplified lens assembly, and the concept of compensating for terrible lenses in software, rather than doing it with the lenses themselves.

The assembly and software concepts have been around since the 80s if not earlier. Not only that but there are more than one ways to do what they're doing, some of which are public domain. The software just has to be written in a different way.

In order for them to be relevant, they have to have a lynchpin patent without which other companies cannot compete. That does not exist.

That particular arrangement wasn't really used by any VR headset that had existed up until that point, and while not nessesarily ideal from a quality perspective, allowed for a comparatively huge field of view (about 100 degrees), and, importantly, brought the cost down to reasonable levels.

The size of the screen isn't patentable. The use of lenses isn't patentable. All it is, is two lenses in front of a screen. This is patent domain technology because of the holmes stereoscope doing it first and the patent is entirely unenforced as long as they don't copy the exact design. So it's public domain. View master has a better claim to the hardware patent than Oculus and the technology is no different in viewing a split card image than it is viewing a screen that splits the image. So this process is NOT Occulus' by any stretch of the imagination.

Now, their particular design? Sure, that's theirs. But the technology of putting lenses in front of a display at a specific distance to generate the perspective required of 3D? Not by a long shot.

image

That's nothing to sneeze at, and I have enough reason to believe it would be possible to patent that particular arrangement of lenses and screen with software based compensation.
That's unique enough to be patentable, but, considering what it would mean, that could cause a lot of problems if it's held hostage.

What you need to do is present a specific patent that you believe they have exclusive rights to that is somehow being infringed upon by other companies.

From what I'm seeing, the Rift's patents are just the headmount design:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/D701206.pdf

They literally just patented the ornamental design. Other people already patented the other setup tech. Look, their patent even references the original Holmes patent.

They made their SDK software open source to encourage developers to work with it. So they don't even have that.

ZeniMax, Apple, and Sony have all been awarded patents for their designs too. In fact, it's ZeniMax that is suing Oculus for patent infringement. I strongly recommend you take a look at their complaints against Luckey. It's significant and lays out a timeline of and public citation that you can verify yourself on the internet that all but condemns the Rift's nefarious activities. http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/assets/4490157/1-main.pdf

Now, can the Rift shake the charges and invalidate the NDA with the backing of Facebook funded lawyers? Maybe. They're currently trying to debate whether or not the NDA (which Luckey admits having signed) should have defined the term "proper purpose". Meaning that they did sign it but are trying to weasel out of it now. It's quite shady and you should consider the Oculus Rift to be born out of lies and intellectual property theft even if it comes out and ends up being the best thing ever. They stole from companies that have been pouring money into this problem for decades. The NDA actually just said he couldn't use contract-protected information unless it was a "proper purpose" that ZeniMax agreed to. So it actually isn't that undefined since its definition is really just "only things that Zenimax approves" Unless it is to his company's employees and officers.

So I don't think they'll win, but it's possible and then ZeniMax would be robbed of decades of research and development as well as being praised as the real pioneers here like they actually deserve.

But can you please tell specifically what patent you think the Rift holds that specifically patents VR technology?

Lightknight:


But can you please tell specifically what patent you think the Rift holds that specifically patents VR technology?

~sigh~ you're turning things completely on their head if you think I said the rift itself is patented.

And again, you're picking and choosing things. That lens assembly by itself is useless. it works because of software compensation

Software patents are inherently flaky, but they still show up from time to time.

But, that's beside the point.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/2686562/oculus-open-sources-original-rift-developer-kits-firmware-schematics-and-mechanics.html

It's fairly obvious that holding patents on a design you've made open-source, and expect others to copy and adapt would be stupid.

But that really wasn't the point I was getting at.

The problem isn't whether oculus has patents. It's do other companies hold patents on what oculus created?

Pointing out that other companies have 'better' claims on it than oculus means you didn't understand what I said in the first place.
That is the whole point.

And it doesn't matter whether it's true or not, so asking me to prove what patents there might be in existence is beside the point.
I was posing a hypothetical situation, that if true, could cause huge problems.
Whether it actually is true or not is a different issue.

The hypothetical situation at question is roughly this (since you apparently didn't get it the first time)
1. Oculus/ key members of oculus steal designs/technology from company X
2. Oculus designs a headset based on these stolen designs.
3. Oculus makes these designs open-source, and lets other companies copy them.
4. Other companies start producing headsets containing elements copied from Oculus's design.
5. It turns out Company X has patents on some critical elements of Oculus's design, and can prove it.

Now tell me, what consequences would this have, if true?

The point however isn't 'is this true?' it is, 'this would be a very bad situation'.

Do you understand what I'm getting at yet? Or do I have to go even further?

I don't actually have anything relevant to say about this story other than I still think Luckey Palmer is a sick name.

CrystalShadow:
The hypothetical situation at question is roughly this (since you apparently didn't get it the first time)
1. Oculus/ key members of oculus steal designs/technology from company X
2. Oculus designs a headset based on these stolen designs.
3. Oculus makes these designs open-source, and lets other companies copy them.
4. Other companies start producing headsets containing elements copied from Oculus's design.
5. It turns out Company X has patents on some critical elements of Oculus's design, and can prove it.

Now tell me, what consequences would this have, if true?

The point however isn't 'is this true?' it is, 'this would be a very bad situation'.

Do you understand what I'm getting at yet? Or do I have to go even further?

What I'm saying is that there is nothing within the Oculus that matters to other products. There's no patent that prevents you from writing a unique program that does the same thing other programs do. There's no patent that prevents someone from designing their own VR headset.

So there is no turn-key technology they developed that would prevent another company from developing their own headset and writing their own program. It's simply the nature of software IP law. The only issue that could come up is if the SDK was somehow owned by another company (it isn't, Carmack rewrote the whole thing the moment Bethesda issued a suit against them. Bethesda can only claim that Oculus benefitted unfairly from the use of private code they had access to) is that people would have to start using another SDK.

There is nothing preventing you from writing your own SDK right now. In fact, you could literally go through the SDK code and rewrite every clause in a different way or different language and you could copy write the resulting code without fear of a legitimate lawsuit against you.

 

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