Software Defense Attorney discusses Dassault Solidworks Infringement
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Solidworks by Dassault creates cutting edge software that helps engineers and designs make quality products. However, at several thousands of dollars to license the software, piracy claims often surface against startup companies and established companies alike (who may not be aware that one of their employees, contractors, or consultants are using the software) and when you receive a notice of infringement letter that is when many business owners get concerned and call our office.
We can help take care of your problem and help you settle your case with a copyright infringement release. This blog contains some general information relevant to this topic.
Solidworks uses "phone home" technology that purports to track infringement in your organization. Call us for a free initial consultation or email us through our contact form. We are one of the few law firms in the United States that have a track record of successful settlements dealing with Dessaultes Solidworks. You should know if they cannot get the case settled, we have seen a sample draft complaint (over 35 pages) that could be filed if you decide not to respond, or do not adequately resolve the matter.
DATA COLLECTED: In order to use certain functions and features of the Site, DS SolidWorks requires that You provide certain Personal Data when visiting or using the Site. Personal Data may include:” when visiting or using the Site. Personal Data may include:
"title, first and last name, postal address, email address, telephone number(s), login and password, university, degree and courses taken, company, company size, department and job title, industry and industry sub-industry sectors, delivery method and people to whom purchases must be shipped, financial data (credit card number and expiry date, name and address of the cardholder), IP address, and any other Data as may be relevant for the purposes listed below."
Have you seen this? When you agree to their terms this may be one you were not quite aware of:
“Audit. During the term of this Agreement and for a period of three (3) years thereafter, you shall establish and maintain accurate information records relating to the use of the Offering, including, without limitation, the list of users accessing and using the Offering. When applicable, such information shall include destruction of the Offering and the measures put in place by you to protect access to and use of the Offering. DS SolidWorks shall have the right – at any time, at its own expense and under reasonable conditions of time and place – to audit and copy these records and/or your use of the Offering. You also hereby authorize DS SolidWorks to verify your compliance with the terms of this Agreement.
For such purpose, DS SolidWorks may conduct an audit on your premises during normal business hours, in a manner that minimizes disruption to your business. DS SolidWorks may require you to provide it, or any third party that DS SolidWorks engages to conduct such verification, with machine access, copies of system tools outputs, or other electronic or hard-copy system information as appropriate. If the audit reveals unauthorized use of the Offering, you shall promptly pay to DS SolidWorks any amount(s) owed as a result of such unauthorized use at the Offering's then-current list price. If such unauthorized use is five percent (5%) or greater of your authorized use with respect to the applicable Offering, then, in addition to you paying the applicable charges, you shall reimburse DS SolidWorks for the cost of such audit. By invoking the rights and procedures described above, DS SolidWorks does not waive its right to enforce this Agreement or to protect its intellectual property by any other means permitted by law.”
As you can see, you may have inadvertently “agreed” to allow your company to be raided (for lack of a better word) by Dassault and its representatives. We can help prevent these types of onerous software audits.
What to do if you are an engineer or designer and receive a letter from Dassault
The question many companies have is “do I need a software defense lawyer to help me respond to the letter.” They also want to know “does this make me look guilty.” My response is the same, NO, business people routinely hire attorneys to help them respond to legal actions for the following reasons:
- They don't know the law in the area
- They don't have time to drop everything and figure out how to respond
- They are not well versed in negotiation
- They know nothing about a copyright infringement settlement agreement or what terms are needed
- They simply “do not want to deal with it”
- They are not sure if this could turn into a criminal case (even if nothing criminal was done, criminal threats are sometimes made)
None of these reasons implies the owner, officer or director of the company is guilty of software piracy.
If you receive a letter here are my top 5 tips
- Call us before you call them or email them (potentially saying damaging things). We offer a free initial consultation to business owners who have received a notice of infringement.
- Check the infringement report to see if MAC addresses match up
- Decide whether or not you want to respond (not responding can risk a copyright infringement lawsuit that could put officers and directors at risk of personal liability)
- If you respond, decide what your settlement goal is (do you want to purchase needed software?)
- Negotiate (this is often easier to have an experienced software licensing lawyer to negotiate the best possible deal)
- Make sure you are getting a copyright infringement release if settling the case. You want to make sure you cannot be sued in court after settling and the release needs to be comprehensive to protect your interests.
Here is a link to a company that has various costs and pricing for Solidworks software. Keep in mind, when you get into their piracy funnel, typically discounts WILL NOT normally be something they offer. You can expect $9,999 for Solidworks premium, $6,985 for Solidworks professional and adds are extra. For example, $4,544 for “Inspection.” Flow Simulation may be $13,995. Prices may not be accurate and are subject to change. Don't forget there may be infringement and enforcement fees.
Should I tell the boss?
Many times an employee or manager of a company will receive the infringement "love letter" as we affectionately call it. In these cases, it is important to realize that when a software infringement lawsuit is filed, both the officers, directors, employees and the company itself can be sued in federal court.
This can make a complete and total mess and create a potentially HUGE monetary liability against the company and lead to an injunction being filed in Court (would this shut down your company)? Just be aware, since everyone is on the hook, this may ultimately be an issue you want to bring to the attention of the board of directors. But the employee should first start with a solo call to our firm. At times, an officer/director or employee may have to take a position more of that of a whistleblower rather than the software pirate and point fingers at the company (in order to avoid their own personal liability). In these cases, we can represent only the employee-whistleblower and sometimes if there are no conflicts we can represent the entire organization and employees, officers and directors where the collective interests are aligned.
- CEO of Solidworks gives piracy statement (talks about software being sold on eBay and Craigslist)
- Reddit user talks about friend accused of pirated software use
- What is willful copyright infringement?
- What happens if I cannot get my software dispute settled amicably?
- Potential copyright infringement damages
Contact a Software Technology & Intellectual Property Law Firm
If you received a demand letter or even a phone call from a Solidworks representative, it is best to weigh your legal options. We can help you decide which course to pursue. We offer a no-cost initial consultation to persons and companies who have received a cease and desist letter or a settlement demand letter.
Call us at (877) 276-5084. We offer low flat rate fees (no triple billing) designed to make it affordable to have a copyright lawyer on your side. They normally have lawyers on their side.
You can also email us using our contact form submission. We have handled hundreds of software-related disputes including Microsoft BSA audits, Autodesk audit letters from Donahue Fitzgerald, Siemens disputes, Vero software licensing issues and many more. We have appeared in over 150 federal court cases and have excellent client reviews, including having received the Avvo Client's Choice Award.