After a 25-year delay, Autodesk wants to finally get around to trademarking the name of a file format (DWG), and doesn't like that the Open Design Alliance has registered OpenDWG as a trademark in the USA.
During this attempt to overturn the registration, Autodesk and the ODA are getting into a sniping match. For instance, the ODA marked 12,000 documents as "commerically sensitive," forcing Autodesk to come up with a reason to why each and every one should NOT be labelled as such.
Autodesk complained to the USPTO (trademark office), and last week the trademark office agreed that the ODA was being annoying. (See ruling here.) The USPTO turned the tables on ODA, telling them they had 20 days in which to redesignate all 12,000 pages at their proper confidentiality level -- "thoughtfully".
Autodesk won another complaint: it didn't like the way the president of the ODA answered its questions, and demanded that (1) he return to the witness chair; and (2) answer the questions. (In the prez's defense, he had only recently joined the ODA, and so was not knowledgeable about its history and inner goings-on.) The USPTO's normal rules are that a witness cannot be recalled unless both sides agree. But the rules are also that the defense has to produce a knowledgeable witness, and so the ODA's president or someone else has to take a second turn.
But Autodesk lost a third demand: it has wanted the ODA to explain how it reverse engineers the DWG format. The USPTO really couldn't see the method by which a defendant obtains the information is at all relevant to any possible confusion over OpenDWG trademark ownership.
(In my understanding, the ODA uses Russian programmers located in Saint Petersburg to decode the DWG format.)
This the question Autodesk has asked the USPTO to answer: are consumers confused when the ODA uses "OpenDWG" and Autodesk uses "DWG"?
The new schedule for ADSK vs. ODA case is as follows:
Discovery period to close -- August 22
Plaintiff's 30-day testimony period to close -- November 20
Defendant's 30-day testimony period to close -- January 19, 2009
Plaintiff's 15-day rebuttal testimony period to close -- March 5, 2009