Autodesk Goes After ODA for Trademark Infringement

28 Nov, 2006

Under fire over the use of DWG format, Open Design Alliance removes some code libraries from Web site.

The long-time feud between Autodesk and ODA (Open Design Alliance) has entered a new phase. According to court documents dated November 13 and posted at, Autodesk filed a suit against the Open Design Alliance in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, alleging trademark infringement.

The document states, "Autodesk's AutoCAD software will ordinarily store user files in the DWG format. ... From time to time, Autodesk's competitors have copied the DWG format in their products, contending that this facilitates the portability of user files between CAD programs offered by different vendors. Under its RealDGW program and predecessor programs, Autodesk itself has offered to license and has licensed its proprietary technology for reading, writing and saving files using the DWG format, either on a reciprocal basis with other vendors or under a licensing program for developers. Defendant [ODA] has not participated in the RealDWG program and has copied the DWG format without Autodesk's support or consent." points out, "The complaint is based on the ODA's implementation of its DWGdirect software libraries that read and write the AutoCAD 2007 DWG format."

Autodesk requested, among others, a judgment ordering ODA to "recall or otherwise replace any previously distributed DWGdirect libraries that simulate Autodesk's TrustedDWG technology ... a permanent injunction [against ODA and its associates] from using or simulating Autodesk's TrustedDWG technology. ..."

Autodesk prevailed in round one. Consequently, ODA was compelled to state on its home page that, "On November 22, the United States District Court for the Western District of Washington in Seattle issued a Temporary Restraining Order affecting the Open Design Alliance's DWGdirect libraries. Due to this order, the DWGdirect version 2.1.0 libraries are no longer available for download. Updated version 2.1.1 libraries, which do not include the code affected by the order, are available now, in Windows 32- and 64-bit versions. We expect to make replacement libraries for other platforms and compilers available within the week." and other industry insiders observe that the lawsuit doesn't bode well for ODA, already embroiled in an embezzlement scandal.