Autodesk was trying to keep a frying pan in two fires, and today the US Patent and Trademark Office said, "One's enough, thank you."
(Autodesk is suing DS SolidWorks and the OpenDesign Alliance, because it prefers a monopoly over the use of three little letters used for the file extensions of several graphics programs, such as AutoCAD: d, w, and g. The world's largest CAD company launched two appeals through USPTO, but then, in a curious case of split personality, switched tactics to go after SolidWorks in civil court instead. Autodesk asked for (and received) permission from the USPTO to suspend the trademark action against SolidWorks until the outcome of the civil case, which has precedence over any USPTO decision.)
The ODA asked the USPTO that they be treated the same way: drop Autodesk's case against them at the USPTO until the outcome of the SolidWorks case in civil court. But curiously Autodesk fought to keep the USPTO appeal going, thinking perhaps that they were doubling their chances at winning something in a case that most observers view as unwinnable. And today they lost a skirmish.
Ann Linnehan of the USPTO recognized that Autodesk's case against the ODA was identical to the one it dropped against DS SolidWorks. Getting Autodesk off the ODA was "in the interest of judicial economy", Ms Linnehan added, "to avoid duplicating the efforts of the district [civil] court, and the possibility of reaching an inconsistent conclusion." She didn't want Autodesk doubling its chances by working in two jurisdictions.
Further, the USPTO doesn't want to hear from Autodesk again until 20 days after the civil trial is concluded. Which is a year or two away.
The sound of the loud "Whew-w-w" is coming from members of the Open Design Alliance. Now they can let DS SolidWorks pay for the battle over DWG on their behalf. (DS SolidWorks is a member of the ODA.)