John Carmack sues ZeniMax for $22.5 million


— 1:00 PM on March 10, 2017

Current Oculus CTO John Carmack is suing ZeniMax Media, his former employer, for $22.5 million in federal court. Carmack alleges that ZeniMax still owes him the final installment of his portion of the $150 million purchase of id Software, back in 2009. Carmack was one of the co-founders of id Software, the company responsible for the Doom and Quake series of FPS games that popularized the genre.

The lawsuit alleges that Carmack received a convertible promissory note for $45.1 million at the time of the sale, half of which he converted into ZeniMax stock. ZeniMax apparently now refuses to pay the remainder of the $45.1 million because of its feud with Facebook-owned Oculus—despite the fact that the jury for that trial didn't find Carmack liable on any claims.

Carmack's move from ZeniMax to Oculus has been a contentious one. ZeniMax previously sued Oculus' parent company Facebook for $4 billion, claiming ownership of the technology inside the Rift VR headset. ZeniMax alleged that Carmack developed key technology used in the Rift while he was still a ZeniMax employee. ZeniMax was granted a $500 million judgment in that case. Oculus is to pay ZeniMax $200 million for breaking a non-disclosure agreement, as well as $50 million for copyright infringement and $50 million for false designation. Judgements of $150 million and $50 million were levied against Oculus co-founders Palmer Lucky and Brendan Iribe. Carmack subsequently filed a counterclaim against ZeniMax, alleging violation of his employment agreement, but the suit was unsuccessful.

The entire filing can be viewed on The Dallas Morning News' story about the lawsuit. UploadVR also has a story about it, along with a response from ZeniMax.

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