More Legal Troubles for Oculus Rift Founder

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A pair of men behind virtual-reality company Total Recall Technologies claim they were swindled by former partner Palmer Luckey, who took their ideas and went on to form recent Facebook acquisition Oculus Rift VR.
     In a federal complaint filed Thursday, Ron Igra and Thomas Seidl say they met Luckey in 2010 and discussed a project to develop wearable, immersive 3-D technology displays.
     Igra and Seidel filed a patent application for the technology in 2011, and asked Luckey to build a prototype for the headgear using Total Recall’s patented method and funds.
     Luckey also signed a non-disclosure agreement “to maintain information received from Seidl in the strictest confidence and not to use confidential information received from Seidl for his own benefit,” according to the complaint.
     After Luckey shipped the prototype on Aug. 23, 2011, Seidl says he gave Luckey confidential feedback on how to improve the design of the head-mounted display.
     But at some point in 2012, Luckey allegedly took the prototype and started passing it off as his own, Seidl and Igra claim. For instance, in 2012 – without informing the partnership and during the term of the parties’ agreement – Luckey pursued a Kickstarter campaign to promote a highly immersive, wide field of view, stereoscopic head-mounted display at an affordable price – a device that Luckey named the Oculus Rift,” the complaint says.
     Oculus did not respond to a request for comment.
     Total Recall wants disgorgment, compensatory and punitive damages for breach of contract and breach of duty against Luckey, and constructive fraud and conversion against both Luckey and Oculus. It’s represented by Robert Feldman, Robert Stone and Brian Cannon with Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.
     The firm did not respond when asked for comment.
     Igra and Seidl’s lawsuit follows a similar action brought by Texas-based ZeniMax Media last year. The company claimed it had also corresponded with Luckey in 2012, who by then was already working on Oculus Rift.
     In its lawsuit filed in the Northern District of Texas, ZeniMax called the Rift a “crude prototype” that “lacked a head mount, virtual reality-specific software, integrated motion sensors, and other critical features and capabilities needed to create a viable product,” and that it gave Luckey its proprietary hardware and software enhancements under a non-disclosure agreement.
     ZeniMax says Rift would never have existed as a viable product had ZeniMax not provided Luckey, at his request, with its expertise and know-how – contributions it was never paid for.
     The Texas company says the $2 billion Facebook acquisition of Oculus Rift in March 2014 confirmed the value of the intellectual property it shared with Luckey.
     A trial for that case has been set for May 2016.

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