VR rift OPENS UP: Total Recall Technologies hurls lawsuit at Facebook's Oculus

[Johnnycab rolls his eyes]

Johnnycab with Arnie. Screen shot from Total Recall

Oculus has been named in a lawsuit from a rival, which claimed the Facebook-owned Virtual Reality outfit's founder broke a confidentiality agreement about its head-mounted display.

Hawaii-based Total Recall Technologies' (TRT) complaint was filed (PDF) with the US District Court Northern District Court of California on 20 May.

Oculus and its founder Palmer Luckey – who created the Rift headgear scooped up by Facebook for $2bn in March last year – have been accused of "breach of contract and wrongful exploitation and conversion of TRT intellectual and personal property in connection with TRT's development of affordable, immersive, virtual reality technology."

Ron Igra and Thomas Seidl, the plaintiffs in the case, claimed that TRT confidentially shared information about its 3D technology (including cameras and head mounted displays) with Luckey in 2010.

The following year, the pair said they filed a patent application, dubbed "System and method for creating a navigable, three-dimensional virtual reality environment having ultra-wide field of view," which was later granted by the US patent office.

According to the lawsuit, Luckey inked a "nondisclosure, exclusivity and payments agreement" in August 2011, having apparently been tasked with building a prototype head mounted display for TRT, based on a spec from Seidl.

However, within a year of striking that deal with Igra and Seidl, the complaint noted that Luckey had launched a Kickstarter campaign to appeal for funds for his Oculus Rift device.

TRT alleges:

Without informing the Partnership, on information and belief, Luckey took the information he learned from the Partnership, as well as the prototype that he built for the TRT using design features and other confidential information and materials supplied by the Partnership, and passed it off to others as his own.

The VR firm claimed, among other things, that it would "suffer irreparable injury" as a result of Luckey's alleged breach of contract with TRT, which is seeking yet-to-be-determined compensatory and punitive damages in the ongoing lawsuit against Luckey and Oculus.

Facebook, Oculus and Luckey could not immediately be reached for comment on this story. The company's Rift VR headset is expected to ship in the first quarter of 2016. ®




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