Samsung sued for 'misappropriated' VR technology in Gear headset


A District Court in Dallas received a claim form on May 12th, coming from ZeniMax Media, stating that Samsung had unlawfully used some of the former’s patented VR tech in the Gear VR headsets. It’s only a first instance claim at this point, but it does have potential to generate millions in damages, should the court establish that the Korean company benefited from Zeni’s VR concepts.

The base of the claim, as per court documentation, refers to ZeniMax Media’s dispute with Oculus VR in 2012, where the judgement ordered Oculus to pay $500m in damages to Zeni, for violating its VR patents. The latest claim alleges that Samsung should have been aware of the dispute with Oculus, having in mind that it was reported in NYT, WSJ and USA Today, and should have seized to utilize and benefit from its Gear VR line.

Gear VR is ‘powered by Oculus’, which means it may incorporate information that belongs to ZeniMax, after it had been misappropriated by Oculus. The plaintiff alleges that Samsung has benefited from its VR technology, which had been unlawfully misappropriated by two gentlemen, in breach of their non-disclosure agreements with Zeni - Mr Palmer Luckey, owner of Oculus VR, LLC, and John Carmack, Technical Director at id Software (one of Zeni's subsidiaries). Some of you might remember the 'id' logo on most loading screens inside big-hit games, such as Quake, Rage, Doom, etc. 

ZeniMax Media seeks an injunction against Samsung that would effectively stop the latter, partially or in full, from selling Gear VR headsets, should the court find that the products indeed incorporate Zeni’s tech. Furthermore, the claim could potentially require Sammy to pay damages for ‘infringing of protected works’ and ‘use of trade secrets’. The proceedings are in infantile stages just yet, but the course of action is well-worth following, as the bill for Samsung may spiral into the hundreds of millions and pose serious considerations for the future of Gear VR.

FEATURED VIDEO

8 Comments

1. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Guilty by association?

2. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Did ZeniMax Media ever create any hardware themselves? Nope. Let alone trying to make it work in a mobile VR platform? Certainly not. Or develop a mobile VR headset with an IMU? Nope. Samsung and Facebook jointly made the software together, and optimized​ it for mobile CPUs and GPUs. This is the sole part if any that ZeniMax any claim too. However ZeniMax wasn't involved in developing, testing, optimizing, or creating tools for developers to make apps for Gear VR, or Oculus in general. Let alone it was both Facebook and Samsung that invested billions into development of these platforms and ecosystems. Not to mention all the hardware involved. Well I hope the courts look at this case in full detail. Well if nothing else Samsung could also look at using Google's Daydream VR, especially since the latest Gear VR headset comes with a 3 degrees of freedom controller similar to Daydream's controller. Not to mention Daydream VR can also use Steam VR games as well.

8. vincelongman

Posts: 5693; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Agreed, I really pissed ZeniMax Media has been so disrespectful/salty in their break up with John Carmack/Oculus Also I can't wait for Khronos' OpenXR to be used Still in very early stage (probably wont be in devices until at least late 2018), but it should improve compatibility between Daydream, Gear VR, SteamVR, Oculus VR, PS VR, ... I loved to one day use Daydream or Gear VR to stream content from my PC Or to play both Daydream or Gear VR content on either a Pixel or Galaxy S phone

3. vartotojas

Posts: 30; Member since: Nov 14, 2014

gear pear disapear... ant others... only wait for 210 degrees VR. Will be soon in Cinemas.Thank You.

4. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1060; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Wouldn't Oculus be more at fault here than Samsung. They were the ones who already dished out $500m to Zeni for infringing on their patents previously. So if the Gear VR uses any of those patents, it's because Oculus decided they hadn't learnt their lesson and reused the same production process. But then again has Zeni actually use any of their own patents? Aren't you supposed to show you are capable of producing anything you patent? Or does the USPA(not sure if that's right) just let anyone patent anything they can draw up?

6. iSometimes

Posts: 57; Member since: Feb 16, 2011

Pretty sure it's the latter.

5. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

I guess the money paid out by oculus only covered ztheir own asses and didn't include their clients? That would be bad business practice if that was the case lol

7. pendragon0202

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

US patent system needs major overhaul.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.