Tag Archives: Andrew Bluebond

Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Lawsuits.

SIEMENS PLM SOFTWARE LAWSUITS — “THEY’RE BACK!”

I didn’t want to let this one slide. Remember the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management (Siemens PLM) lawsuits (where Siemens sued a number of engineers who used their NX software without a license)? Well, in July, 2018, they have filed their newest copyright Infringement lawsuit (this is the FIFTH TIME they are suing), this time against 107 John Doe Defendants (here in our own Texas Southern District Court, no less).

Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does 1-107 (4:18-cv-02344), filed July, 2018

I’ve already written all that needs to be known about the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. lawsuits

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Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Piracy Lawsuit
Screenshot from Siemens PLM Software’s website on the NX Mach 3 software.

What happened to the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management’s older lawsuits?

WAVE 1

In Wave 1, Siemens solicited licenses for their NX software. At first, we thought that these were bittorrent-based lawsuits like the others we have been dealing with, but then we learned that Siemens was actually tracking the unlicensed USE of the software (e.g., think “software phone home”).

This complicated the lawsuits because they were dealing with actual evidence (rather than the “snapshot bittorrent-based evidence” we have seen in the movie lawsuits). As a result, we put together a list of steps an attorney should take in defending a Siemens PLM lawsuit, and this has proven to be an effective strategy.

Over time, the lawsuit progressed, and eventually Siemens dismissed the lawsuit once they realized who they wanted to name and serve in their own lawsuits, and they filed individual copyright infringement lawsuits against companies they discovered were using their software without a license.

WAVE 2

In Wave 2, Siemens filed a similar lawsuit, this time against 100 new defendants. They surprised a number of defendants with settlement numbers of $50,000+ (eventually, we learned that they were settling licenses to their software, and they actually cost that much). This second wave lawsuit “on the books” looked to be a failure because they missed a FRCP Rule 4(m) deadline to name and serve defendants. As a result, they dismissed the entire lawsuit, however, I know that they continued after the dismissal to contact accused defendants (or their attorneys) with the intention of having those accused defendants [now dismissed] purchase a license to cover their use of the Siemens PLM NX software.

WAVES 3-4 (2017 – mid-2018)

In Waves 3-4, Siemens continued to target engineers in their lawsuits.  The purpose of these lawsuits was to “legitimize” those who were using their NX software “for profit.”  They were more reasonable this time on the settlement amounts (no settlements, just purchase of software licenses), but they allowed the defendant some leeway in determining what software title would best benefit the user, and whether Mach 3 was needed, or whether a lower-cost alternative was an option.  Siemens PLM also started to discuss settlement negotiations themselves (e.g., offering money to settle the claims), however, this never materialized.

WAVE 5 (late 2018)

Now in Wave 5, I do not yet know whether these 107 John Doe Defendants are from the same pool as the earlier lawsuits were filed, or whether these are from an entirely new pool of accused infringers. However, at least the lawsuit itself (its intentions, and what to expect) are less of a mystery, as we were able to settle a number of claims in their previous lawsuits through the purchase of a software license.

As always, here is how an attorney should be handling a Siemens PLM software lawsuit, and how we at the Cashman Law Firm, PLLC would handle your Siemens PLM case. This has been an effective strategy in each of the various Siemens PLM lawsuits, and thus I am suggesting it again with this newest wave of lawsuits.


[CONTACT AN ATTORNEY: If you have a question for an attorney about the Siemens PLM software copyright case and options on how to proceed (even specifically for your circumstances), you can e-mail us at info[at]cashmanlawfirm.com, you can set up a free and confidential phone consultation to speak to us about your Siemens PLM case, or you can call us at 713-364-3476 (this is our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC’s number].

CONTACT FORM: If you have a question or comment about what I have written, and you want to keep it *for my eyes only*, please feel free to use the form below. The information you post will be e-mailed to me, and I will be happy to respond.

NOTE: No attorney client relationship is established by sending this form, and while the attorney-client privilege (which keeps everything that you share confidential and private) attaches immediately when you contact me, I do not become your attorney until we sign a contract together. That being said, please do not state anything “incriminating” about your case when using this form, or more practically, in any e-mail.

Siemens Surprises John Does With $50K+ Settlement Requests

I have done further searching, and it appears as if the prices that Siemens PLM is asking for are shockingly accurate.  They appear to be asking from John Doe Defendants the cost of 1-2 business licenses for their NX software, which can be as high as $30,000 per license.  So while for an average internet user spending $30,000 on a piece of software would be obscene, apparently this is what people are paying for this software.  This does not mean that there is no room for negotiation — circumstances as to whether or how the use happened differs for every defendant, and every John Doe Defendant has a different financial situation and personal circumstances.

[ *2018 UPDATE* Since we have been through five “waves” of lawsuits thus far, we have learned that Siemens PLM is more pliant than they were in earlier lawsuits.  While they are not yet accepting cash settlements (payments in return for a dismissal), they are allowing accused defendants to purchase less costly versions of their software (e.g., Mach 1 versus Mach 3), or other software altogether of similar cost (if that is more useful to the defendant). ]

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It usually makes no sense writing about cases once they have progressed quite a bit, but with the Siemens PLM cases, Siemens has ramped up their sales tactics in a way which needs some explaining.

Recent letters that have gone out from Andrew Bluebond (and in more recent lawsuits, by James Quail) of Reed Smith LLP are asking for numbers in excess of “$50,000, plus any applicable sales taxes, legal fees and expenses, to license [to accused defendant]” (emphasis added).  Thus, a Siemens settlement could end up being $55,000 – $60,000 (or more) just for using the software without a license.

I have not yet figured out how they have come to this large number, because each defendant only has a limited number of “infringing uses” of Siemens PLM’s NX software.

Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

WHY HIRING AN ATTORNEY AT THIS LATE STAGE OF THE LAWSUIT IS A GOOD IDEA.

Initially, I stopped taking clients for this case in February, but because no doubt people are being hit with these high numbers (this was an unexpected turn for Siemens), it makes sense to have us represent you to negotiate a settlement price this high down to something that is in more of a “fair” price range.  And yes, I am willing to take on a limited number of new clients simply because Siemens is suing in my state, and I can easily appear and represent clients in the Texas Southern District Court should negotiations go awry.  Also, I am already spending the time to research the cases and review the evidence they have against each John Doe Defendant, so I have already done much of the legwork (which you will not need to pay me for).

It also must be noted that at this price point, it simply makes sense to fight the case in court (especially if you did not use the software).  But before you panic about the $50,000 settlement letter you received, understand what is likely going on.

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HOW SIEMENS PLM SALES TACTICS MIMIC THOSE OF SELLING AN EXPENSIVE SUIT.

When you go to a clothing store to purchase a $300 suit, the salesperson will always show you the $2,000 suit first.  Then, he’ll show you an $1,800 suit that is obviously not nearly as nice as the $2,000 suit.  Then, he’ll show you a $1,000 suit that looks even less pleasing than the more expensive suits.  You begin to doubt whether a $500 suit will even give you the quality you thought you wanted.  But then… poof!  The salesperson finds a $500 suit, “in the back, that we just got in stock,” and that $500 suit is more beautiful than any of the other more expensive suits.  Excited that you are getting a good ‘deal’, you proceed to purchase the $500 suit, and while you are at it, you purchase a belt, buckles, an expensive tie and shirt, and spend another $300 in accessories and alterations.  In sum, you walk out of the store having spent $800, but you feel like a million bucks.

Obviously there is ABSOLUTELY NO CONNECTION between buying a suit and being hit in the face with a $150,000 copyright infringement lawsuit for tinkering with software that is being shared on the piracy bittorrent websites, supposedly for free (and what company monitors and sues on the piracy and unlawful USE of that software, anyway).  But there is something to say of this tactic.  No doubt if you end up paying $15,000 for their base software after being initially asked for $50,000, you’ll think you are getting a great ‘deal’. 

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WHAT IS THE TRUE RETAIL PRICE OF SIEMENS PLM SOFTWARE?

I mentioned $15,000 as the guesstimate of the base price for the Siemens software, and really, I do not know what the base price actually is.  I have seen websites advertise the sale of that software from $15,000 – $20,000.  I have also seen ‘less credible’ sell ‘valid’ licenses for $2,500, so who really knows.

2017 UPDATE: Siemens PLM business licenses (“seats”) can easily cost $30,000+ for each license.  There are various levels, e.g., Mach 1, Mach 2, Mach 3, and Mach 4, and the higher-level business licenses mirror the amount they are asking for from John Doe Defendants in their lawsuits, “in order to turn infringing users into genuine customers.”

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As my general understanding goes (from speaking to various individuals at Siemens), Siemens NX software ranges in price from $15,000 – over $30,000 depending on the various modules, licenses, or versions you are purchasing.  And, business licenses are significantly more expensive than student licenses, which can be purchased for $99 (and on those student licenses, the receipt will often say, “you just saved yourself $9,999 on this software!” which suggests that the software itself costs over $10,000.

Most “John Doe” Defendants are being accused of using a pirated copy of the “NX Mach 3 Product Design” software.  You MUST assume that any Siemens PLM software is being similarly tracked; the list of software owned / provided by Siemens can be found at http://www.plm.automation.siemens.com/en_us/

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SHOULD I HIRE AN ATTORNEY AT THIS LATE STAGE OF THE LAWSUIT?

At this point, three methods of handling your lawsuit are flowing through your mind.

1) Paying the $60K and taking the hit (likely a bad move because I believe this price can be negotiated).

2) Ignoring this (who gets named and served anyway?) and risking the $150,000 judgment.  After you, you think you can’t pay $60K, so you can’t pay $150K either.  You’ll just take the loss and file for bankruptcy.  (Again, bad move because you would have exacerbated the situation.  Even if you are named and served as a defendant, it is not too late.  There are still ways to salvage the case and get you out of this, minimizing the damage to you).

3) Maybe you can hire an attorney, and he can negotiate this down to something that you feel comfortable paying.  And if not, at the very minimum, he can represent you in court with the best result of getting you dismissed from the lawsuit, and the alternative goal of forcing a lower settlement amount.  Realistically, your attorney can speak to your plaintiff attorney and negotiate a price that you can pay, or at a minimum come to some resolution to satisfy Siemens PLM’s claims against you.

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So in sum, there are two BAD options, and two GOOD options.  The two BAD options are  1) PAY THE ASKING PRICE, 2) IGNORING THE LAWSUIT COMPLETELY.  The two GOOD options are either 1) hiring an attorney to NEGOTIATE YOUR SETTLEMENT, and 2) (if settling is not an option, OR if you simply did not do what Siemens claims you did), have that same attorney FIGHT THE LAWSUIT and minimize the damages, or get you dismissed altogether without paying any settlement.


CONTACT FORM: If you have a question or comment about what I have written, and you want to keep it *for my eyes only*, please feel free to use the form below. The information you post will be e-mailed to me, and I will be happy to respond.

NOTE: No attorney client relationship is established by sending this form, and while the attorney-client privilege (which keeps everything that you share confidential and private) attaches immediately when you contact me, I do not become your attorney until we sign a contract together.  That being said, please do not state anything “incriminating” about your case when using this form, or more practically, in any e-mail.

MOST RECENT SIEMENS PLM CASES
(as of 9/21/2018)

Cases Filed in the Texas Southern District Court:

Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does 1-107 (Case No. 4:18-cv-02344)
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does 1-100 (Case No. 4:16-cv-03552)

Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. Does 1-100 (Case No. 4:16-cv-01422)

SPEAK TO US (or ask me something).

No doubt you want to speak to a lawyer about the bittorrent lawsuit / ISP subpoena that you have received.  *I get that*, and I will do whatever I can to at a very minimum give you a speedy response, even if I cannot take you as a client.

Our law firm (meaning, “I”) will do my best to answer your call, and I will spend as much time with you on the phone as you need so that you at least do not panic about the case which is allegedly trying to take $150,000 (or some $10,000+ settlement) out of your pocket or home.

I have a pretty terribly-written web page at http://www.cashmanlawfirm.com/, but on there are links to reviews and comments people have written about how I have helped them whether or not they ended up being my client:

REVIEWS POSTED ON GENBOOK

REVIEWS POSTED ON GOOGLE

I am not committing to take you as a client; I do not charge for our phone appointments.  So, consider this as a “free consultation,” (or more as a friendly voice from someone who gets bored and enjoys talking to people,) but be aware that I might be working on a case while I am speaking to you, or that there might be interruptions which might pull me away from a call.

I am currently actively working on the following cases (filed in multiple states across the U.S., so while there are tweaks to be made from one federal court to another [different judges, different local rules], the copyright holder remains the same entity).

SCENARIO 1: IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN, OR IF YOU WANT TO SPEAK TO ME ABOUT YOUR MATTER, I INVITE YOU TO USE THE CONTACT FORM BELOW.

CONTACT FORM: If you have a question or comment about what I have written, and you want to keep it *for my eyes only*, please feel free to use the form below. The information you post will be e-mailed to me, and I will be happy to respond.

SCENARIO 2: ASSUMING YOU WANT ME TO REPRESENT YOU IN THE CASE OR NEGOTIATE A RELEASE AND DISMISSAL FROM THE CASE, NEGOTIATE A SETTLEMENT (OR AN ANONYMOUS SETTLEMENT), OR HAVE ME REPRESENT YOU IN THE COURTROOM.

Follow these three steps below to have me represent you in your lawsuit (again, I do limit the number of clients I take (and here is why), and I do limit the number of time slots I make available each day):

1. Schedule a phone appointment for us to have a few minutes to speak about your lawsuit, your plaintiff ‘copyright troll’, what we know about them, and what we have achieved in the past with other clients.

2. Get, sign, and return retainer agreement (either I or one of my assistants would need to e-mail this to you after our call.  I do not make them readily available so that hundreds of John Doe defendants can hire me at the same time — I just don’t work that way, and this is a good thing).

3. Sit back, relax, and let us work on your behalf to get you the results you need.

After scheduling your appointment online, you will be contacted by phone at the specified date and time by a Cashman Law Firm, PLLC attorney.

SCENARIO 3: IF ALL ELSE FAILS AND YOU CANNOT REACH ME THROUGH THE WEB FORM, OR IF YOU CANNOT FIND AN OPEN TIME-SLOT ON THE GENBOOK APPOINTMENT PAGE,  I’M PROVIDING MY CONTACT INFORMATION. USE IT SPARINGLY.

Obviously I don’t want you calling me while I am in court, and I don’t want you e-mailing me without first reading the relevant articles about your case.  I’ll get you where you want to go in order to get out of trouble, but I won’t do it for you.  In other words, I’m not teaching you about this case from scratch or doing some dance in order for you to decide to retain me as your attorney.

But I am providing my phone number to you and my e-mail to you — these will break through all the barriers and you will reach me this way.  But respect this information and use it sparingly.

713-364-3476

[email protected]

[And as silly as this sounds, I have written SEVEN YEARS worth of blogs without referencing myself once.  That sounds self-deprecating, but really, I am simply trying to get resources and information in your hands.  So my name is “Rob Cashman.”  Please don’t call me Ron, or some other name, because that does annoy me.  Take the time to pay attention to learn my name if you want to speak to me.] 🙂

Lastly, I know I often have 100+ people contacting me, and I only provide a handful of phone consultations or appointments.  If you need my help, whether or not I become your attorney, *I WILL HAPPILY TAKE THE TIME TO SPEAK TO YOU, AND EVEN SPEND WHATEVER TIME IS NECESSARY (TIME PERMITTING) TO HOLD YOUR HAND.*

So if you need to speak to me after-hours or outside my set schedule, that’s ok too.

-Rob

NOTE: No attorney client relationship is established by sending a web form or an e-mail, and while the attorney-client privilege (which keeps everything that you share with confidential and private) attaches immediately when you contact me, I do not become your attorney until we sign a contract together.  That being said, please do not state anything “incriminating” about your case when using this form, or more practically, in any e-mail.

How an attorney should handle a Siemens PLM Software Lawsuit

Because software-based copyright infringement cases are especially concerning the John Doe Defendants who are accused of using pirated software (such as what is going on right now with the Siemens PLM Software v. Does 1-107 [4:18-cv-02344] case in Texas), I thought it would be beneficial to take a few moments and simplify the process. That way, when you pay an attorney, you will know exactly what the attorney will be doing.

Steps an attorney should take in representing a defendant in a Siemens PLM case.

Here are the steps your attorney (us, or anyone else) should be taking on your behalf — specifically with the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does 1-107 (Case No. 4:18-cv-02344) case:

STEP 1) STOP PLAINTIFF FROM CONTACTING YOU OR ANYONE ELSE ON YOUR BEHALF (WORKPLACE) ABOUT THE CLAIMS AGAINST YOU.

Once your plaintiff attorney learns that you are represented by an attorney, all communication must be with that attorney alone. Phone calls or letters to client directly once a notice of representation is provided can jeopardize that attorney’s law license.

STEP 2) RESEARCH AND DISCUSS CLAIMS COMPARING PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY’S DATA OF USE VERSUS ACTUAL USE OR NON-USE.

Siemens PLM likes to research the claims, and they take their time in getting the entire picture before discussing settlement. It is important to share truthful information with your defense attorney so that claims against you can be disputed with facts and dates. And obviously, your attorney should have the common sense to discuss the claims without admitting guilt on your behalf.

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STEP 3) DISCUSS AND NEGOTIATE SETTLEMENT OPTIONS WITH PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY, WHETHER A SOFTWARE PURCHASE, A LICENSE, A SETTLEMENT FEE, OR NO SETTLEMENT (PROCEED WITH LAWSUIT).

Normally the plaintiff attorneys in a copyright infringement lawsuit (or more frequently, a bittorrent-based “copyright troll” lawsuit) will immediately approach a settlement regardless of guilt or wrongdoing. This is not the case with the Siemens PLM Software lawsuits. Rather, it appears as if they are seeking to convert those using unlicensed versions of their software into paying customers. For this reason, once the investigation is completed and claims are discussed, settlement options are discussed as well. This might include purchasing software, paying a settlement, or negotiating a license based on the limited past use of the software.

The “no settlement” option is obviously the scenario where the client did not do the download. Because Siemens PLM software is expensive (costs can range from a few thousand dollars to over ten thousand dollars), there is no reason to negotiate a settlement if the accused John Doe Defendant did not download or use the software. Rather, the alternative is to provide proof that the John Doe Defendant is not the individual Siemens PLM is looking for (it is difficult to prove a negative, but it is doable), or to help Siemens PLM come to the realization that the actual software user is the engineer next door running his business from his home.

Obviously if neither side can agree on anything, then yes, it makes sense to proceed to allow the plaintiff attorney to name and serve your client, file an answer with the court, and proceed with defending your client’s interests in the courtroom.

STEP 4) NEGOTIATE PRICE (IF BENEFICIAL, CONSIDERING CLIENT’S ABILITY TO PAY). PROVIDE DOCUMENTATION OR STATEMENT IF NECESSARY TO SUBSTANTIATE CLAIMS.

Many accused defendants installed the software for educational purposes — to ‘tinker’ with the software, to learn the software, or to become conversant with the software. While the intention of the unlicensed use is noble (e.g., that user would later be working with a licensed version of the software at their workplace or in their business), for the moment, there was folly in their initial use of the software. This is our goal — to have these specifics be relevant and useful in a negotiation with Siemens PLM to arrive at a settlement price the client can afford.

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STEP 5) NEGOTIATE TERMS OF SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT. NEGOTIATE A SOFTWARE LICENSE IF NEEDED OR REQUIRED.

These are two separate steps. The settlement agreement should be specific to the claims of copyright infringement, and they should include the nuances of Texas contract law in order to ensure the agreement is enforceable. The software license also is full of nuances and words that requires an attorney who knows what terms mean in software licenses (because certain words have meanings in the context of a software license which are contrary to the plain meaning of the word), and who is forceful enough to be willing to argue for terms or clauses which protect the client’s rights. Lastly, the software license should provide the accused John Doe Defendant the right to use the software in the way the accused defendant wants or needs to use the software in the future. It makes no sense to negotiate a limited software license to cover only past use when the defendant is an engineer and will be needing to use the software again in the future.

STEP 6) HAVE PLAINTIFF ATTORNEY SIGN AGREEMENT(S), THEN HAVE CLIENT SIGN AGREEMENT(S) AND PROCESS SETTLEMENT PAYMENT.

This is self explanatory. Siemens PLM is not bound to an agreement until they sign it (or until their attorney with authority to sign signs it on their behalf as their agent). Attorneys generally try to get the John Doe Defendant to sign first and pay their settlement fee, and then ‘maybe’ the plaintiff attorney will sign it, and ‘maybe’ the attorney will accept the payment, and ‘maybe’ the attorney will release that defendant from liability once the settlement is received. These are games a plaintiff attorney may play, and for this reason, it is advisable to have the defense attorney insist that the plaintiff attorney sign the agreement first in order to bind their client to the terms of the agreement… before their client signs the agreement or pays a penny in settlement of the claims against them.

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STEP 7) FOLLOW-UP WITH PLAINTIFF TO HAVE CLIENT’S “JOHN DOE” ENTITY DISMISSED FROM CASE.

Once again, this is self explanatory, but unfortunately, it must be a step. Too often, plaintiff attorneys have the clients sign first and pay first, and then when they get around to it, they’ll sign the agreement and release that defendant from liability. However, this could take weeks or months.

The reason for this is because once their client has their money, without being contract-bound to release the defendant from the lawsuit, the John Doe Defendant who paid their settlement fee becomes a lower priority to the busy plaintiff attorney (who is juggling sometimes hundreds of defendants in multiple cases) who is more worried about the due dates for their other cases, or who is more worried about extracting settlements from other defendants. This is why it is important in STEP 6) for the plaintiff attorney to sign the agreement first.

Nevertheless, even with a signed agreement, sometimes the plaintiff attorneys need ‘reminders’ to do what they are duty-bound to do. Thus, your attorney should not close the client’s file when payment is sent, but rather, the attorney should stay on top of the plaintiff attorney until the dismissal is actually filed in the court dismissing that John Doe Defendant from liability.

In sum, copyright infringement cases are all similar, but each one has its nuances. The steps described in this article apply to any John Doe Defendant in any copyright infringement lawsuit, and for this reason, I wrote this article 1) to not only give the client an understanding of the steps which are required in representing a client prior to being named and served in a John Doe lawsuit, but more importantly, 2) to allow that client to hold their lawyer’s toes to the fire and make sure they are being represented carefully and individually.

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LEVERAGE:

ONE LAST THING — I wanted to discuss LEVERAGE. A copyright infringement lawsuit is in federal court, which means that out-of-state attorneys may attempt to solicit clients to engage in settlement negotiations only. However, with a client as large as Siemens PLM, especially with the financial backing of the corporation and the millions of dollars they can pour into their lawsuits, it is probably a good idea to retain an attorney who can step foot into the courtroom if something goes wrong (and things DO go wrong). The Siemens PLM attorneys can recognize an out-of-state attorney who has little leverage to negotiate versus an in-state attorney who is willing to pull the settlement off of the table and proceed with defending the case if the plaintiff is not being cooperative in resolving the claims against the client. In short, an attorney with leverage will get a better result for his client as compared to an out-of-state attorney without leverage.

Have you read enough? Book Now to get help. > > >

OTHER ARTICLES ON THE SIEMENS PLM SOFTWARE CASES:

Siemens PLM NX-based lawsuits – converting accused engineers into loyal customers, on 1/9/2017.

Software Developers are now tracking piracy through the USE of downloaded software, on 9/9/2016.

Siemens Software Case IS a Bittorrent Case, on 6/20/2016.

What to do about the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does case (TX), on 1/16/2016.


CONTACT FORM: If you have a question or comment about what I have written, and you want to keep it *for my eyes only*, please feel free to use the form below. The information you post will be e-mailed to me, and I will be happy to respond.

NOTE: No attorney client relationship is established by sending this form, and while the attorney-client privilege (which keeps everything that you share confidential and private) attaches immediately when you contact me, I do not become your attorney until we sign a contract together.  That being said, please do not state anything “incriminating” about your case when using this form, or more practically, in any e-mail.