Autodesk’s Official Statement on DWG and ODA

I recently asked Autodesk bashers an open question. Not happy with the replies I decided it was time to get it straight from the horse’s mouth. Nobody at ODA was prepared to comment in public. However, Autodesk’s Director of Corporate Communications, Caroline Kawashima, was kind enough to entertain me. I asked her whether Autodesk had a whitepaper or some kind of document which describes Autodesk’s position on the DWG file format. Here is what I wrote to her:

“I am not sure whether Autodesk has done a good job explaining to its customers (or the general public) the reasons why it does not want to open the DWG format. I have read an interview with the Autodesk CEO wherein he makes a few points regarding this topic. Apart from that I couldn’t find anything else. Maybe I have not looked hard enough. I guess you should have the material I am looking for.”

This is Autodesk’s official statement:

“Actually Autodesk has a very reasonable licensing program for its DWG libraries, Autodesk’s RealDWG developer’s toolkit. Many companies have signed on to that license, and are producing authentic “TrustedDWG” files as part of their implementation of RealDWG. We have an obligation to them, as well, to protect the TrustedDWG program. Our competitors also have proprietary file formats that they may license on a selective basis—Autodesk’s practice is generally consistent with the industry practice.”

I tend to agree with the last sentence. Almost all of Autodesk’s competitors have not opened their proprietary file formats. So why should Autodesk? … and so the problems of interoperability in the CAD software industry will continue to exist.

The statement also covers the Autodesk-ODA law suit.

“The ODA software libraries contain technology that falsely identifies customer data files their software creates as Autodesk-created files. We have the right to control the use of our trademark and we depend on that right in informing customers of the source of the files they are introducing in their CAD environments. The ODA interfered with our ability to do that. The ODA failed to respond to our reasonable request to stop violating our rights. As a result Autodesk is suing the ODA in order to defend its ability, through TrustedDWG, to assure our customers of the source of customer data files and make sure the origin of the files is not falsely attributed. The ODA’s latest software libraries mimic TrustedDWG and defeat the very purpose of the program. We are relying on trademark laws to protect our ability to inform customers of the source of customer data files.”

Pretty much the same as what their lawyers are saying in court. At least this is the first official statement that I have seen.