31 Aug, 2006 By: Sara Ferris

Behind the scenes in the world of CAD

Patent Payment

A federal judge ordered Autodesk to pay $18 million in jury-awarded damages in a patent infringement case brought by z4 Technologies. The case centered on product activation software designed to prevent illegal copying that was used in AutoCAD. The judge also chastised Autodesk and codefendant Microsoft for misconduct, saying the companies tried to "bury the 107 relevant exhibits . . . in a massive pile of decoys." He also cited several instances where the defendants failed to fully and promptly disclose evidence.

3D Page Patent

QuadriSpace has secured a patent on its 3D publishing technology. U.S. Patent Number 7,068,269, issued for System and Method for Presenting Three-Dimensional Data, applies to the creation, editing and display of a 2D-page-based document that includes interactive 3D views.

Clusters Are Coming

Microsoft is working with the auto industry to implement HPC (high-performance computing) technology to facilitate design analysis, collaboration and data collection from existing vehicles. The company envisions growing use of a collection of small servers running Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003 that can be accessed from desktop and laptop computers. Microsoft says HPC is likely to significantly expand the testing of nonlinear designs.

 Survey Shows Spending Up, Costs a Concern
Survey Shows Spending Up, Costs a Concern

Standard Spreads

The Web3D Consortium revised its X3D specification for 3D Web content to incorporate features such as cross-sectioning, orthogonal views, physics, particle systems, smooth motion and layering. X3D is an ISO-
ratified open standard that can be tailored for visual simulation, engineering, CAD and other applications.

Change of Address

Former Actify CEO Randy Ochs has resurfaced as vice-president of strategic alliances and channel development for Right Hemisphere, developer of software for product graphics management.

Super Scanner

Z Corp. sells a $39,900 handheld 3D scanner that positions itself in relation to the target object rather than an external device such as a tripod or mechanical arm. Z Corp. says the ZScanner 700 is the first 3D scanner to allow users to move the target object during scanning and the first to display a real-time on-screen image of the surface being scanned.

Scan to Standard

ASTM has formed a committee (E57) to develop standards for 3D imaging systems, which capture 3D information in the form of a point cloud. ASTM notes that no standards currently exist for evaluating the performance of 3D imaging systems or the end projects derived from the data they generate.

New Surfacing Wrinkle

FreeDesign launched the FreeDimension 3D surface modeling application, which features patent-pending
N-Sided Surfacing technology. This technology liberates users from quadrilateral surfacing approaches like NURBS and Bezier surfaces, says the company.

Software by Committee

Autodesk has formed online customer advisory councils for its Revit Building and Architectural Desktop architectural products. The councils will help Autodesk better understand product use and prioritize features for future releases.

China Component

UGS has signed an OEM agreement to integrate one-step formability analysis technology from Jilin University, China, into its NX software. The technology is fruit of UGS' GO PLM initiative, which provided the university with NX and NX Nastran software worth $169 million.

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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