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It's Official: Oculus VR Faces Lawsuit Over Alleged IP Theft

Attendees wear Oculus Rift HD virtual reality head-mounted displays at the 2014 International CES, January 9, 2014.ROBYN BECK / AFP - Getty Images

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Oculus VR, the virtual-reality company Facebook bought for $2 billion, is officially facing a lawsuit over claims of intellectual property theft.

The plaintiff is video-game company ZeniMax, which had already publicly accused its former employee John Carmack — the creator of influential video games including the "Doom" franchise — of allegedly using ZeniMax technology illegally in order to power the Oculus Rift headset.

ZeniMax sent letters to Oculus and to Facebook about its accusations against Carmack, who left the ZeniMax-owned id Software game studio he created to join Oculus last summer.

ZeniMax made its complaints official on Wednesday, filing a lawsuit against Oculus VR and founder Palmer Luckey in federal court in the Northern District of Texas (where id Software is based).

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Attendees wear Oculus Rift HD virtual reality head-mounted displays at the 2014 International CES, January 9, 2014.ROBYN BECK / AFP - Getty Images

The complaint accuses Oculus of using ZeniMax's "copyrighted computer code, trade secret information, and technical know-how" to advance the Rift headset.

In the 46-page complaint, ZeniMax said it provided "valuable intellectual property" to Oculus — and that both Luckey and Carmack signed agreements barring them from using the technology without licensing it from ZeniMax.

Instead, ZeniMax said, Oculus used the technology to help build the Rift anyway.

ZeniMax is seeking "full and fair compensation" in the suit, after Oculus allegedly rejected previous requests for compensation requests.

Oculus, which had already slammed the claims as "false" when they were first reported, released a statement reiterating that point of view on Wednesday: "The lawsuit filed by ZeniMax has no merit whatsoever. As we have previously said, ZeniMax did not contribute to any Oculus technology."

Carmack himself didn't comment on Wednesday, but he tweeted a denial earlier this month when the ZeniMax accusations were first reported.

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