Some commenters are calling this law suit 'silly' (or worse; I've not posted some due to their extreme derogatory tone). Autodesk is within its rights to attempt to protect devices by which it is known -- logos, names, and even colors and shapes. You may disagree with that right, but the American courts permit it.
The reason? It's all about preventing the public from becoming confused, and then buying one product when they meant to buy another.
Jeep vs Hummer
I recall DaimlerChrysler in a similar law suit. Its Jeep has a front grill made of seven vertical bars. They sued GM, because the Hummer also used seven vertical bars. Chrysler claimed they spent a billion dollars in marketing the Jeep's image. GM's defense: Chrysler was silent for ten years; this is the legal aspect tripping up Autodesk's 25-year-late claim to DWG.
Chrysler didn't sue other car makers whose SUVs used vertical bars, however, and DaimlerChrysler didn't seem to notice that some of its own Jeeps used diagonal bars. DaimlerChrysler dropped the lawsuit after losing two rounds, because judges found that Jeep and Hummer shared the same grandparent, AMC.
GM then sued Avanti Motor because its Studebaker Xtreme Utility Vehicle looked too similar to the Hummer H2. (The two settled out of court, Avanti agreeing to change its design.) And on it goes.
So, ya, corporations go to huge lengths to protect their image from competitors. I don't resort to law suits, but I do watch for others (ab)using the name and products produced by upFront.eZine Publishing, Ltd.
At Another Blog
Rock Solid Perspective writes about the law suit from a SolidWorks user perspective.
A commenter at that blog says the first few pages of the legal document read like Autodesk marketing material. It's not marketing; instead, Autodesk is stating its position among other corporations, creating the foundation upon which to make its claim for DWG.
Poaching & Counter Poaching
SolidWorks likes to target AutoCAD users; indeed, Jason of Rock Solid Perspective is a former AutoCAD user. We have seen endless "come on over to us" magazine ads and software products aimed at AutoCAD users.
OTOH, Autodesk counter-targets; there was that satisfaction survey for SolidWorks users to tell Autodesk how much they dislike SolidWorks. "Has SolidWorks ever corrupted your files?" "What is your biggest frustration with SolidWorks in terms of product quality and performance?"
We recall pictures of Inventor taxi and airport ads at SolidWorks events. Gal Raz writes, "I took those pictures at the airport when I arrived for SolidWorks World in 2005."
These pictures are three years old; today, SolidWorks apparently leads Inventor 840,000 to 819,000 -- according to the most recent numbers released by each company. (The www.autodesk.com/truthin3d page no longer exits.)
Ultimately, however, the law suit has nothing to do with confused customers or yellow rectangles. It's about Autodesk's uncontested ownership of DWG.
Here is a political question: What would be your reaction if it were SolidWorks who had first sued Autodesk? Examining your feelings over reversed roles is an interesting thought experiment, and can help tell you about yourself.