The venerable Oculus Rift VR headset has had its share of controversy this week with company founder Palmer Luckey being taken to court by previous employer Total Recall Technologies. The company is claiming Luckey (who was employed in 2011 to prototype a head mounted display), went on to use the information gathered through the project to improve upon and later launch his own project via Kickstarter – the Rift.
According to legal publication The Recorder, the suit filed against Luckey is claiming “compensatory and punitive damages” but does not specify an amount.
Total Recall Technologies claims Luckey breached a non-disclosure agreement he signed at the time he commenced employment with the company, as well as claiming that through his actions Luckey and Oculus have committed conversion and constructive fraud. It’s a similar case to the one that ZeniMax Media brought against former employee John Carmack, who was accused of stealing code from Bethesda‘s parent company before jumping ship to Oculus in 2013.
Today’s news comes as Oculus VR (and parent company Facebook) announce that the first public edition of the hardware will be available during the first quarter of 2016. The timing is seemingly convenient for Total Recall to take such action, considering the very public development cycle of the product. One must wonder if such action is a case of sour grapes or simply a blatant cash grab.
Either way, Total Recall Technologies will want to have deep pockets if they plant to go head-to-head in the court room with Facebook, who is ranked a none-too-shabby #341 on the Fortune 500, rolling in a cool US$1.5 billion profit each year.