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Overview of common Autodesk software products

Posted by Steve Vondran | Oct 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

Autodesk Audit – Basic Product Descriptions

autodesk software download


April 2023 Updates:

If you received an Autodesk audit letter read this article.  You would think they would appreciate their good paying clients more, but having handled HUNDREDS of these audits, they do not.


When companies are asked to engage in a “voluntary” audit with Autodesk software company of San Rafael, one of the questions I get is “what products am I looking for?”  This is a list of some of the more common products that architects, designers and engineers might want to be looking for when filling out the software audit spreadsheet.  Note, this is NOT an exclusive list of all of their software, they have a large number of titles.


What I have learned having handled many audits for companies across the United States is that Autocad is in my opinion the most frequent issue that comes up in license compliance reviews.  This is probably their flagship product and the one so many architects, engineers and design companies use to run their business.


Another common product that pops up in licensing cases is Revit.  Revit is a high end tool which wikipedia describes as:

“Autodesk Revit is building information modeling software for architects, structural engineers, MEP engineers, designers and contractors developed by Autodesk. It allows users to design a building and structure and its components in 3D, annotate the model with 2D drafting elements, and access building information from the building model's database. Revit is 4D BIM capable with tools to plan and track various stages in the building's lifecycle, from concept to construction and later demolition.”

Autodesk Inventor

Wikipedia website says that:

“Autodesk Inventor, developed by U.S. based software company Autodesk, is a computer-aided design application for creating 3D digital prototypes used in the design, visualization and simulation of products. It uses ShapeManager [Autodesk Shape Manager (ASM)], their proprietary geometric modeling kernel. Autodesk Inventor competes directly with SolidWorks and Solid Edge.”

Design Review

According to CNET

From Autodesk: Accelerate projects from start to finish with Autodesk Design Review, the all-digital way to review, mark up, and track changes to 2D and 3D designs without the original creation software. Accurately measure, redline, and annotate DWF, AutoCAD DWG, DWF, and DXFx files, and communicate changes in the context of the design. Add comments, track status, and drag and drop information from CAD files, project timelines, or raster images combining them into a single file. Then round-trip the DWF file to any Autodesk design application, overlaying digital markups onto the original CAD file for fast revisions.


Here is a video showing the Autodesk Recap product.

Autodesk Vault

According to Wikipedia

Autodesk Vault is a data management tool integrated with Autodesk Inventor Series, Autodesk Inventor Professional, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD Electrical, Autodesk Revit and Civil 3D products. It helps design teams track work in progress and maintain version control in multi-user environments. It allows them to organize and reuse designs by consolidating product information and reducing the need to re-create designs from scratch. Users can store and search both CAD data (such as Autodesk Inventor, DWG, and DWF files) and non-CAD documents (such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel files).

3ds Max

On Wikipedia's website they discuss the 3DS product

“Autodesk 3ds Max, formerly 3D Studio, then 3D Studio Max is a professional 3D computer graphics program for making 3D animations, models, games and images. It is developed and produced by Autodesk Media and Entertainment.[2] It has modeling capabilities, a flexible plugin architecture and can be used on the Microsoft Windows platform. It is frequently used by video game developers, many TV commercial studios and architectural visualization studios. It is also used for movie effects and movie pre-visualization. To its modeling and animation tools, the latest version of 3ds Max also features shaders (such as ambient occlusion and subsurface scattering), dynamic simulation, particle systems, radiosity, normal map creation and rendering, global illumination, a customizable user interface, new icons, and its own scripting language.”

Academic versions of Autodesk

Click on the link for more information about student and faculty academic versions of Autodesk software.

Can you sell your Autodesk products to another company, such as on eBay or Craigslist?

In most cases software licenses are NOT transferrable unless at the discretion of Autodesk.  We wrote a blog discussing certain recognized grounds that may permit the transfer of a software license (for example, when a company sells all its assets, or merges with another company).

Helpful Resources

Listen to Attorney Steve provide an overview of Autodesk Software Audits

VIDEO: Click on the picture above for essential overview and steps to take if you company is asked to respond to a demand letter from Donahue Fitzgerald, the main IP firm for Autodesk compliance.

What should you do if you get the audit “love letter” as we jokingly refer to it?

The most important things to do are:

  1.  Do not start talking to all your employees, friends and neighbors.  Keep this on the low down.  You could be facing federal copyright litigation and anyone you talk to MIGHT become a witness against you.
  2. Call our law firm BEFORE you ever talk to Autodesk counsel.  They have done thousands of these cases and their copyright lawyers are skilled at ferreting out weakness and maximizing their recoveries.
  3. Do not throw your laptops in the bay.  Deleting evidence or purchasing new software could be a sign of “willful copyright infringement” and could lead them to get more aggressive about your case, and/or raise the terms of settlement.
  4. We can help you explore you case, review potential mitigating factors, and potential legal defenses to willful infringement.  Keep in mind “innocent” infringement is still infringement.  In most non-litigation cases we can offer a low fixed flat rate fee (predictable legal fees without the motive to rack up the billable hours putting one or more attorneys on your case.  Your case will be handled by Attorney Steve and not an associate attorney.
  5. Start gathering your proofs of purchase and taking a general account of your installations and potential shortages.  It helps us to have a general idea where you stand as far as licensing is concerned.

How does Autodesk find out about infringement?

There are many possible ways a software company can learn about piracy or illegal copying.  Here are a few:

  1.  Informant notifies Autodesk (or the business software alliance of which they are a member)
  2.  Illegal torrent downloads monitored and tracked
  3.  Proof of purchasing underpriced software on online retail sites such as eBay or Craigslist.
  4.  Notification of using crack codes, key generators, or thumb drives with pirated software
  5. Social media sites such as LinkedIn touting “Autocad” experience, but no registrations show for the company.  The same issue can arise with posting jobs seeking people with “Revit” experience, for example, but there are no Revit registrations with Autodesk
  6. Competitors who report you because they know or suspect you are making money using interns and academic / student / faculty versions of the software.

Contact an Experienced Software Licensing Compliance Law Firm

If you received a letter from an Autodesk Lawyer requesting your company engage in a audit of your computers, laptops and servers, contact us to discuss your software audit rights and potential defenses and mitigating factors for copyright infringement.  We have helped many small to medium sized business owners across the United States respond to infringement notices and demand letters.  Call us for a free initial consultation (limited to business owners only).  Call (877) 276-5084.

About the Author

Steve Vondran

Thank you for viewing our blogs, videos and podcasts. As noted, all information on this website is Attorney Advertising. Decisions to hire an attorney should never be based on advertising alone. Any past results discussed herein do not guarantee or predict any future results. All blogs are written by Steve Vondran, Esq. unless otherwise indicated. Our firm handles a wide variety of intellectual property and entertainment law cases from music and video law, Youtube disputes, DMCA litigation, copyright infringement cases involving software licensing disputes (ex. BSA, SIIA, Siemens, Autodesk, Vero, CNC, VB Conversion and others), torrent internet file-sharing (Strike 3 and Malibu Media), California right of publicity, TV Signal Piracy, and many other types of IP, piracy, technology, and social media disputes. Call us at (877) 276-5084. AZ Bar Lic. #025911 CA. Bar Lic. #232337


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