In legal papers filed on Tuesday, the Open Design Alliance asks the court in Autodesk vs SolidWorks to force Autodesk to stop being a bully.
I am of the opinion that Autodesk's sole interest in this series of legal actions in the courts and US Trademark Office is to shut down the ODA through draining legal action. In court papers, however, the ODA has a different take on why the biggest CAD software company in the history of the world is spending so much on lawyers:
Autodesk apparently intends to monopolize the DWG format as a proprietary trademark, and thus would require anyone who wants to access a .DWG file to either use its AutoCAD product or otherwise obtain a license from Autodesk."
Autodesk Seems to Not Want to Settle
Monopolizing DWG is one way; shutting down the ODA through legal exhaustion is another. Here is a piece of evidence for my hypothesis:
On Friday, August 28, 2009, counsel for Autodesk and counsel for the ODA conferred by telephone and resolved almost all of the outstanding issues. [Only reimbursement of ODA's costs was still outstanding.] The call ended with the ODA’s counsel offering a suggested resolution to bridge the remaining issues.
Autodesk’s counsel stated that she would take the offer back to her client to confer and reply. Instead of responding as promised, Autodesk, without warning, or conferring with the ODA, filed its Motion to Compel the following business day.
In its latest volley against the ODA, Lewis and Roca (Autodesk's outside legal firm) demands the following:
- That the ODA produce 45,000 documents in one week.
- That the ODA president sit in a deposition for a third time on the same topics.
In return, Autodesk offers to:
- Refuse to narrow the scope of the documents.
- Refuse to narrow the scope of deposition sought in a significant matter.
- Refuse to compensate the ODA for costs incurred.
Notes the document: "Such costs might be small and trivial to Autodesk, a multi-billion dollar corporation, but they are substantial for a three-person-staffed nonprofit corporation like the ODA."
Several pages of the new legal papers describe Autodesk's many fruitless attempts over many years to get the generic .dwg file extension exclusively for their own. That is followed by tables and tables showing the similarity between Autodesk's previous and current demands for information.
The 28-page document ends with a list of legal moves that Autodesk allegedly violated:
FRCP 45(c)(2)(B)(i): Autodesk failed to give notice that it was filing a motion.
FRCP 45(c)(1): Autodesk placed an undue burden on the ODA.
FRCP 45(c)(3): Autodesk placed an undue burden on a non-party (the lawsuit is against SolidWorks, not the ODA).
FRCP 45(c)(3)(A)(i): Autodesk failed to give sufficient time for the ODA to respond.