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Palmer Luckey, Oculus VR Founder, Testifies In Court: 'I Didn't Take Confidential Code'

20 January 2017, 10:10 am EST By Maricris Francisco Tech Times
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Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey denied stealing code and violating a non-disclosure agreement when he demonstrated a virtual reality headset that used software supposedly built by gaming company ZeniMax Media, Bloomberg reports.

ZeniMax claims that Luckey stole the idea behind Oculus from the company. Luckey became a household name within the tech industry when he was 21, after Facebook bought his VR startup Oculus VR for $2 billion in 2014.

ZeniMax Files Suit Against Luckey, Facebook

ZeniMax is filing an intellectual property lawsuit against Facebook, alleging that Luckey and John Carmack, chief technology officer of Oculus, took the idea behind the Oculus Rift VR headset from ZeniMax. Carmack was a former employee of ZeniMax before he began working for Luckey.

According to ZeniMax, the technology used in creating the Oculus VR was based on the code that Carmack had written while he was still an employee of ZeniMax.

The company also said that Luckey did not have the expertise to develop VR technology, and that Carmack, the brains behind successful video games such as Doom and Quake, was the one who transformed the Oculus Rift from an ordinary headset into a "powerful immersive virtual reality experience."

ZeniMax is claiming that Luckey, a college dropout, would not have been able to build a VR headset without the help of Carmack and ZeniMax.

Luckey: 'I Didn't Take Confidential Code'

Luckey did not deny that he used a ZeniMax software in the VR headset prototype he showcased to investors two years ago.

ZeniMax believes this violated a non-disclosure agreement that Luckey signed with the company. Luckey said that he did not violate the NDA, and that he relied on an "executable code," and not on the proprietary source code during his presentation to investors.

"I didn't take confidential code," Luckey said. "I ran it and demonstrated it through the headset. It is not true I took the code."

Another Issue Facing Luckey

Palmer was also in hot water recently after it was revealed that he was a financial backer of a pro-Trump group called Nimble America. The group used internet memes to spread negative messages against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

In the ensuing backlash, he no longer tweeted or granted interviews, but became a recluse.

After 117 days of hiding, Luckey spent his first day back in the spotlight being questioned by ZeniMax's lawyer.

ZeniMax's lawsuit is seeking $2 billion in damages. It is expected that a jury will grant its verdict sometime next week.

Photo: Official GDC | Flickr

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