Accused of Autodesk Copyright Infringement?

Our copyright infringement defense attorneys can help navigate an Autodesk copyright infringement case.

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Autodesk Software Copyright Infringement Lawyer

Computer technology plays an important role in the building, architecture, and construction industries. Through the use of specialized computer software, industry professionals can construct modern buildings that are safe, functional, and artistically designed. 

One of the most influential software companies within this sector is Autodesk, which provides software products that aid in designing and planning of various types of construction projects. Founded in 1982 by computer programmer John Walker, Autodesk started with Walker acquiring a computer aided design (CAD) program from inventor Michael Riddle for $10 million in royalties. The following year, the company released the AutoCAD software onto the market. Autodesk is now headquartered in San Francisco, CA with offices in the U.S. and Canada. 

If Autodesk contacts you concerning an alleged copyright infringement, it is highly advised that you speak to an attorney about your legal options. At Rosenblum Law, our experienced software copyright infringement lawyers will work to ensure you are strongly represented. One of our attorneys will work with you to try and negotiate a settlement with Autodesk to avoid the costly and time consuming process of litigation. If a settlement cannot be reached, we will guide you through the litigation process and develop a legal strategy to ensure a better outcome.

Autodesk’s Software Products: AutoCAD and Revit

Autodesk’s most popular software products are AutoCAD and Revit. Although both software programs aid in the design of construction products and are widely utilized by those in the architecture, construction, and building industries, they have distinct functions:

  • AutoCAD is a CAD program that allows professionals to design precise 2D and 3D models that used to be drawn manually. 
  • Revit is a Building Information Modeling (BIM) software. BIM uses multi-disciplinary data to generate 3D modeling via an open cloud platform designed for collaborations in real-time during the entire design and construction processes. 

Understanding Autodesk Copyright Infringement

If Autodesk believes a company or individual is guilty of copyright infringement, it can sue for unpaid licensing fees, lost profits, and other damages. Thus, it is important to have a basic understanding of what copyright infringement means in the context of software. 

Definition of Software Copyright Infringement

Copyright laws protect the owner of copyrighted material from others using that material without the copyright owner’s permission. The software’s programming code is considered copyrighted material, which means unauthorized usage, distribution or modification of the software can constitute infringement.

How Copyright Laws Protect Autodesk

The creator of a copyrighted work has the exclusive right to decide what others can do with that work under U.S. copyright law. Because Autodesk has either purchased the rights to or developed its software products, the company is the copyright owner of the software programming code. If someone uses the software in an infringing manner, Autodesk may be able to obtain monetary compensation from the infringing party via a software copyright lawsuit. 

Common forms of Autodesk copyright infringement include:

  • Unauthorized use of the software, which can be facilitated through unlicensed copying or circumventing Autodesk’s anti-pirating measures
  • Distributing copies of the software without the proper license to do so is also infringement, even if someone had legitimately purchased the software for their own use
  • Modifying the software code

Consequences of Copyright Infringement

The consequences associated with copyright infringement can be quite devastating for those charged with the offense: 

Autodesk’s Response to Alleged Copyright Infringement

Autodesk implements a variety of policies and procedures for detecting and dealing with violations of the company’s copyrighted software. One of the most basic and common methods is receiving tips from individuals – perhaps disgruntled employees – who report on a firm’s unauthorized use of Autodesk software

Autodesk also embeds infringement detection technology in its software that alerts the company if it detects activity that suggests unauthorized usage. Additionally, the company compiles a database of illegitimate serial numbers that are sometimes entered into an Autodesk database or even an online profile, alerting Autodesk of the potential infringement.

Once the company has detected what it believes to be infringement of its copyright, it may send a cease-and-desist letter to the alleged infringer. If that company or individual does not comply with Autodesk’s request to stop alleged unauthorized usage of its software, Autodesk may decide to file a lawsuit. This can be quite a headache for the defendant and can result in significant costs (e.g. legal fees) even if the defendant wins.

The Role of an Autodesk Copyright Infringement Lawyer

Copyright law, particularly when it involves software code, can be complicated due to the technical nature of the subject matter. Therefore, when facing a copyright lawsuit from Autodesk, it is essential to hire an attorney who specializes in defending software copyright cases and has comprehensive knowledge of copyright law. An attorney will help their client by:

  • Meeting with them for an initial consultation and case evaluation
  • Advising them  on their legal rights and options
  • Assisting in responding to cease-and-desist letters
  • Gathering and analyzing evidence of alleged infringement
  • Developing a defense strategy tailored to the specifics of the case
  • Negotiating in court or with Autodesk for a settlement 
  • Arguing possible defenses against the copyright infringement claims (e.g., fair use, lack of access, independent creation)

Potential Defenses in Autodesk Software Copyright Infringement Cases

Depending on the circumstances, potential legal defenses can include:

  • Fair use: This means arguing that one’s use of the copyrighted material is in such a manner which does not constitute infringement.
  • Lack of access: Someone could argue that they did not actually access the copyrighted material, which would mean they did not view the software code and therefore could not have infringed on the company’s copyright.
  • Independent creation: Someone could argue that they wrote the software code independently without reference to Wolfram Mathematica’s code.

Which defense strategies are most appropriate depend on the specific facts of the case. An attorney can help evaluate a case and create a legal defense best fit for that case.


What constitutes copyright infringement of Autodesk’s software?

Copyright infringement of Autodesk software is the use, distribution, or modification of the company’s software without proper authorization. 

How does Autodesk detect and prove copyright infringement?

Autodesk uses a variety of methods to detect and prove copyright infringement, including relying on reporting from third parties, commonly former employees of the alleged infringer. The company also embeds detection technology in its software which reports back to Autodesk of possible infringement. Also, Autodesk maintains records of “cracked” serial numbers which may end up being entered into an Autodesk database by the alleged infringing party.

What are the potential consequences of being found guilty of copyright infringement?

Losing a copyright infringement lawsuit can result in being ordered to pay monetary compensation to Autodesk for lost fees that would have been paid to the company if it were not for the infringement. Also, one could be sued for any profits earned through the unauthorized use of Autodesk software. Jail time is also a possibility in a criminal charge for copyright infringement.

How can a lawyer help me if I receive a cease-and-desist letter from Autodesk?

An attorney can provide guidance based upon his or her knowledge of copyright laws and experience in litigating software infringement cases. This can mean providing evidence or arguments that prove there was no infringement and asserting it would be fruitless for Autodesk to move forward with a lawsuit. The response to the cease-and-desist letter can also initiate negotiations for a settlement with Autodesk.

Can I negotiate a settlement or licensing agreement with Autodesk?

Yes. It is possible to negotiate with Autodesk for a settlement out of court or even obtain a licensing agreement with the company.

How much does it cost to hire a copyright infringement lawyer?

Costs of hiring a copyright infringement lawyer can vary, depending upon the experience and relevant expertise of the attorney. One of the best ways to get a cost estimate for legal services is to schedule a confidential consultation with a copyright infringement attorney from Rosenblum Law. 

What should I bring to my initial consultation with a copyright lawyer?

You will need to bring a copy of the cease-and-desist letter and any other relevant documents that will allow the attorney to provide you with a comprehensive legal analysis of Autodesk’s case against you. This may include the user agreements included in the software if available.

How long does the legal process take in copyright infringement cases?

Depending on the complexity of the case a copyright infringement case can last anywhere from a few months to several years.

Examples of Autodesk Copyright Infringement Cases

In a lawsuit that Autodesk filed against software developer Torsten Moses, Autodesk alleged that Torsten Moses’s software designed to interact with AutoCAD software infringed upon Autodesk’s copyright. This lawsuit was eventually settled outside of court with the defendant agreeing to pay damages and ceasing the production and distribution of the allegedly infringing software product. In another copyright case, Autodesk had won its legal action on appeal against Timothy S. Vernor, who had purchased old versions of Autodesk software along with handwritten licensing codes from one of Autodesk’s direct customers. Vernor then began selling copies of the older version of the Autodesk software on eBay. An appellate court ruled that Vernor did not have the right to sell the software and was infringing on Autodesk copyright.

Contact a Rosenblum Law Copyright Infringement Lawyer Today

Facing an Autodesk copyright infringement lawsuit can be daunting because the company has significant resources at its disposal. However, you don’t have to handle this situation alone. Contact Rosenblum Law today and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced copyright infringement attorneys. We can assess your case, help you understand what you’re facing, and formulate the best defense strategies available to try to get the lawsuit dismissed or reach a mutually agreeable settlement.

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