A deep industry insider, a month ago, advised me that Autodesk would be suing ZWSOFT over copyright infringement. He alleged that ZWSOFT had copied code from AutoCAD. I searched for independent verification but found none, and so did not publish. This morning, however, another insider sent me a link to information that was public.
Tthis kind of a law suit affects the industry dynamic, just like patent-related suits such as Auto-Dimensions v. Autodesk (which has already eliminated QDIM from one CAD program) -- and unlike, say, employment-related suits.
It is still early days of the suit, and so the information is sparse; here is what I know:
ZWCad Software Co. Ltd. released an “original” design program that, the Chinese company claims, was built from the ground up using new, ZW-written source code, but Autodesk says it’s such an exact copy of its copyrighted codes that it contains the exact same quirks. The ZW software contains bugs that are identical to those in AutoCAD. (1)
I know that ZWSOFT last year rewrote its AutoCAD workalike, appending "+" to its name, like ZWCAD+ 2014; the previous versions were written using the ITC's IntelliCAD-based code. So it appears that the suit is over the new version of the software. Here is what the most recent release looks like:
Launched by -- Autodesk on Wednesday, March 26 in California Northern District Court
Against -- ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd., ZWCAD Design Co., Ltd., and Global Force Direct, LLC
For -- Copyright Infringement and Trade Secret Misappropriation
The three firms being sued are as follows:
- ZWCAD Software Co., Ltd. is the head office in China; d.b.a. "ZWSOFT"
- ZWCAD Design Co., Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of ZWSOFT
- Global Force Direct, LLC is a marketing company owned by Tony Flynn (at one time the head of marketing for Bentley Systems); d.b.a "ZWCADUSA"