Tag Archives: Siemens PLM Software

Siemens PLM defendants, we can still speak AFTER your OCTOBER 5TH deadline.

To those engineers implicated in the recent Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does 1-107 (4:18-cv-02344) lawsuit:

I want to simply apologize for not being able to immediately speak to each of you.  You are all asking for appointments for the same October 5th, 2018 deadline provided to you on your Charter Communications ISP subpoena letter.  Please be patient.

Choosing “the convenient path” before October 5th.

No doubt, there are likely 10+ attorneys actively paying to advertise for your business. However, none of them are located here in Houston, Texas where the lawsuit is, where the courthouse is — where your plaintiff attorneys are. Thus, they will be actively soliciting your business to acquire you as a client for the purposes of satisfying the volume business they have set up around these lawsuits. I understand that it is convenient to jump and hire the first attorney who will have you as a client, but choosing the convenient path is exactly why you have been sued in the first place.

If you have read what I have written on the previous four waves of lawsuits (this is the 5th time they have filed lawsuits with 100+ defendants), you already know that I have successfully represented many clients against Siemens PLM and I have had clients that have both legitimized their prior illegal use by purchasing a license to their proprietary software. I have also had many clients who have had me explain that their use (although unlawful) was for personal use (off of the court docket, without their names being exposed) — they paid no settlement, they purchased no license, and they were dismissed from the lawsuit and no longer worry about being sued for their past acts of infringement.

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The “cooperative” approach vs. the litigious approach.

There are two ways to approach a Siemens PLM software piracy lawsuit — 1) fight each claim on the merits of the copyright infringement claims against each defendant, or 2) (our approach) cooperate with the Siemens attorney’s attempts to sort through each of the 107 defendants to help them determine who needs a license for their past use, and who does not. Siemens is NOT a copyright troll (contrary to popular belief and their use of mass John Doe copyright lawsuits), and so having your attorney treat them like copyright trolls will cause you problems in your lawsuit. If you look at a timeline of their cases (which I have picked a representative set of cases over the years), you see that Siemens PLM pursues former John Doe Defendants, even after lawsuits are dismissed, so applying what I have taught over the years on this website and approaching their case with what I have described as the “ignore” route (as other attorneys might) is not the recommended path to resolving the claims in this lawsuit.

The way out of this lawsuit is simply the long way out. Hire an attorney (myself of someone like me), have him represent you just as I have suggested, and have him represent you through the entire lifecycle of this lawsuit. It will be over in a few months. Just let the attorney do exactly what he has (what I have) done in the past.

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What about my October 5th, 2018 deadline? Can I file a motion to quash the subpoena?

As for your October 5th, 2018 deadline to file a motion to quash with the court to stop them from handing out your information, again, do not be fooled here. You likely do NOT live in Texas and so a motion to quash *IS* a viable option, however, it is not the recommended option. If you hire an attorney (myself or any other attorney) to file a motion to quash because you do not live in Texas, you will likely win the motion to quash and you will [most likely] be SEVERED AND DISMISSED from the lawsuit. However, be VERY AWARE that the immediate next act would be that the plaintiff attorney [from his computer using the PACER / e-filing system available across each of the federal courts in the US] would file the identical lawsuit against you personally, this time Siemens v. YOU, without the padding or anonymity that a John Doe placeholder status provides you, and without the padding that you might have sharing the liability of the lawsuit among 106 other similarly situated defendants.

In other words, don’t fall for sales tactics. Stay as private as possible (you can always contest the personal jurisdiction later and move the lawsuit into your own state if you are ever sued personally in this lawsuit). Up front, this is the 5th time Siemens PLM has sued, and I have never needed to do this nor have I had a client named and served in one of their cases. As I said, the approach is COLLABORATIVE with Siemens PLM, not litigious.

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Retaining me as your attorney before Oct. 5th is a PREFERENCE, not a requirement.

In sum, while I always PREFER to have you be a client before your October 5th, 2018 deadline before your Charter ISP hands over your information, with the Siemens PLM cases, *this is not required.*

As I have written many times, Siemens (now with their James Quail attorney) handles these cases methodically and SLOWLY. It could take weeks before they even get to your John Doe entity. For this reason, (and now understanding that you will not be filing a motion to quash before 10/5), please be patient and take my appointments on https://www.torrentlawyer.com/calendar/ as they become available. There is no rush to have me represent everybody by October 5th, nor is this even possible.

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A quick note about limited time slots and limited availability to speak to you, at least initially.

Lastly, I assume if you have reached this article, you understand that I do not take every client that I speak to, and that there are limited time slots available (here is why). I simply run my practice in a methodical way, taking clients as I can, and one at a time. I also spend most of my time HANDLING CLIENT CASES rather than marketing for new clients.  I am simply not interested in gobbling as many clients as I can, and if you need to hire an attorney today, I will not be your attorney.

I have done the Siemens PLM cases from start-to-finish FOUR TIMES NOW. Watch my calendar for availabilities (as new ones open up), and grab them when they become available. Assuming you have read the articles on my site and are “on board” with my collaborative approach (meaning, cooperating with Siemens PLM and helping them sort through each of the 107 defendants, not blindly fighting them tooth-and-nail like any other copyright infringement or “copyright troll” lawsuit), I will happily take you as a client. This is true even if we end up speaking after your Charter ISP hands over your information to the Siemens attorneys.

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I understand this lawsuit has generated much concern for you. Please understand that I have done this before. Read what I have written about the different “categories” of defendants (based on their usage) that I have hashed out over the years. Stay calm, and understand that this will be a long but drama-free process. I look forward to speaking to you and serving you as your attorney.


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 NX Lawsuit | Expecting FRCP Rule 4(m) Dismissal Due To a Missed Deadline

Siemens PLM v. Does 1-100 (TX) and missed deadlines.

As many of you know, our Cashman Law Firm, PLLC is representing a number of engineer clients who are accused in a Siemens NX lawsuit of using their Siemens NX Mach 3 software without a valid license.

Siemens as we know is using the lawsuit as a pretext to convert accused infringers into valid license holders.  The name of their lawsuit is the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. Does 1-100 (Case No. 4:16-cv-03552) case filed in the Texas Southern District Court.

The Siemens NX lawsuit attorneys just missed a deadline to name and serve defendants.

Procedurally, Siemens was under a FRCP Rule 4(m) deadline to name and serve defendants by 4/3/2017.  This deadline was set by the judge, and the judge is the one with the discretion on whether to extend it once, multiple times, or dismiss the lawsuit after a certain time period has elapsed.

As of writing this article, The Siemens NX lawsuit attorneys did not file anything on 4/3, and their deadline has passed.  Further, it has been two days without any activity on the court docket from Siemens NX.  This is not surprising, as copyright cases often miss a deadline such as this, and then they request an extension and the federal judges readily approve them, sometimes weeks later.

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What a dismissal means to your case, and how you should proceed depending on your circumstances.

A dismissal of the Siemens NX lawsuit means that you are no longer a John Doe in the case.  However, whether this matter is over or not is based on whether you are before or after the ISP handed out your information in compliance with the subpoena.

If the ISP has not yet complied with the subpoena, your contact information is still hidden from the Siemens lawsuit attorney.

If you are before the due date that your ISP gave you before they comply with the subpoena, you are in luck.  At this point, you are still anonymous, and if you hired an attorney, your attorney will likely offer to return the money you paid to him.  It would benefit you to have him contact the ISP to notify them that the Siemens NX lawsuit has been dismissed and that they should not comply with the Siemens subpoena.

By having the ISP agree not to comply with the subpoena sent to them by the Siemens NX lawsuit attorneys (Robert Riddle & Andrew Bluebond), you will remain anonymous, and your Siemens NX lawsuit plaintiff attorneys will never learn who you are.

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If the ISP has already complied with the subpoena, your contact information has been shared with the Siemens NX lawsuit plaintiff attorneys.

If the ISP date has already passed, the assumption is that the ISP already complied with the subpoena, as they told you they would.  Here, you are no longer anonymous, and the plaintiff attorney already knows who you are.

How the 3-Year statute of limitations for copyright infringement cases suddenly becomes relevant.

A dismissal at this point is inconsequential because the plaintiff attorney has already acquired the information he needs to proceed against you out of court.  The statute of limitations to sue someone for copyright infringement is three years from the alleged date of infringement.  That means that they have three years to sue you as a defendant in a copyright infringement case for this same claim*.

*NOTE: There is more on this topic, but it is outside the scope of this article.

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Whether your plaintiff attorney is a ‘copyright troll’ or now also becomes relevant.

Depending on whether your copyright holder is a ‘copyright troll’ (meaning that they will just file another lawsuit against a new set of John Doe Defendants), or whether they will continue to pursue claims against you out of court (using the information they obtained from this lawsuit), you have two options on how to proceed.

If the copyright holder is a copyright troll, a dismissal such as this one should give you reason to celebrate.  However, Siemens PLM is not a typical copyright troll, and that is why I wrote this article.

To a Siemens PLM attorney, you are worth $30K-$60K.

Each settlement in a Siemens case is worth $30K-$60K for Siemens.  The goal of the Siemens attorney is to contact defendants to arrange for a purchase of one or more NX Mach 3 “seats” or “licenses” (at roughly $30K/seat).

An engineer who has been caught using the software without a license, and who faces an ongoing $150,000 lawsuit is an easy candidate for Siemens to convert into a paying customer.  This can be done with or without a lawsuit being in play, at it would apply regardless of whether the judge dismissed the underlying lawsuit for missing the FRCP Rule 4(m) deadline, or whether they tire of being monitored by a judge and they dismiss the lawsuit themselves.

After all, they already have the information they need, and they have three years to continue contacting defendants until such a time when they are no longer able to proceed (or until the Siemens clients stops paying their fees).

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In sum, the case is NOT yet dismissed.

The Siemens PLM v. Does 1-100 Texas case is not yet dismissed, although I wanted to have this information ready for you so that you will be prepared with your options should a dismissal happen.


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.  Also, the contents of topics discussed on this site are not meant to be considered legal advice to act upon or not act upon.  Contact your attorney for answers specific to your particular circumstance.

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.

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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.

Siemens PLM converting NX software pirates into customers.

Siemens PLM has been suing engineers as “John Doe” Defendants

Siemens PLM Software has been suing engineers as ‘John Doe’ Defendants in federal courts.  The lawsuits are for the piracy of their NX software since it was in version 7 (so far, I have seen claims against users of NX 7, NX 8, NX 8.5?, but not yet for NX 9, NX 10, or NX 11 — all of which are available on the bittorrent networks). Most recently, I have seen lawsuits focusing in on the unlawful use of the Solid Edge ST9 Foundation software.

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In June, I wrote the “What to do about the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does case (TX)” article which provided specific information surrounding the lawsuit from information acquired from the Siemens PLM lawyers themselves. However, back then, there was much still unknown, and now (almost 6 months later), I have a much better idea of how this is happening, what Siemens PLM is doing to catch those using the software illegally, whether claims of piracy are leaking over to the employers of the engineers who use the pirated software at their workplace, and how they are handling claims against those defendants, both in and out of the courtroom.

What you need to know about these lawsuits is that the Siemens PLM lawsuits still deceptively look like “copyright troll” lawsuits, but they are not. I will get into this momentarily.

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*UPDATED* LIST OF FEDERAL COURT CASES FILED:

IN THE CONNECTICUT DISTRICT COURT:
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. et al v. Demin (Case No. 3:16-cv-00553)

IN THE NEW YORK SOUTHERN DISTRICT COURT:
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. Does 1 – 100 (Case No. 1:14-cv-01926)
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. Does 1-50 (Case No. 1:11-cv-08469)

IN THE OHIO SOUTHERN DISTRICT COURT:
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software In v. Manufacturing Services International, Inc. (Case No. 3:16-cv-00182)

IN THE PENNSYLVANIA EASTERN DISTRICT COURT:
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. Does 1-50 (Case No. 2:12-cv-06795)

IN THE TEXAS EASTERN DISTRICT COURT:
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. BTL Machine, Inc. (Case No. 4:14-cv-00506)
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. Does (Case No. 4:15-cv-00582)
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. Mercury Metal Forming Technologies, LLC (Case No. 4:14-cv-00002)
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does (Case No. 4:15-cv-00017)
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. TWIVision Engineering Group, LLC (Case No. 6:11-cv-00679)

IN THE TEXAS SOUTHERN DISTRICT COURT:
(*NEW*) Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. Does 1-107 (Case No. 4:18-cv-02344)
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software Inc. v. Does (Case No. 4:16-cv-03552)
Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. v. Does 1-100 (Case No. 4:16-cv-01422)

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JOHN DOE DEFENDANTS ARE GETTING CAUGHT THROUGH THE *USE* OF THE SOFTWARE, NOT THROUGH THE ACQUISITION OF THE SOFTWARE.

In September of 2016, I was still piecing together how a person can get caught not through the download of pirated software via BitTorrent, but through the USE of that software (that article is still available for viewing, although the picture is more clear to us now as I describe my current understanding of it here, specifically tailored to the Siemens PLM Software-based lawsuits).

As we’ve learned, most Siemens PLM NX Software available for download on the piracy websites comes with a serial number (“SN”) and an “activator” which modifies the application to allow it to accept a random password that the SN activator generated.  (Not relevant, but still interesting to know:  The serial number + details about the computer or laptop upon which it is installed creates a “Unique ID” which can be checked with valid IDs on the server; this circumvents a computer from using a “valid” registration code for a computer for which that registration code was not licensed to.  Thus, even though the serial number activator provided the software with a valid serial number, the company servers know the software is pirated.)

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This application modifier is known as a “crack,” and software which is altered to accept the serial number generated by the crack thinks locally (that is, on the laptop in which it was installed) that the software was properly acquired, purchased, and lawfully registered. Most cracks also revert the executable file used to run the file back to its original unaltered state once the software has been registered.

The problem is that even cracked software connects to the internet, for example, to access libraries in the program file which are stored on the company’s servers. In other words, for economy purposes, it would take up too much hard drive space to store every piece of a large multi-gigabyte-sized program on each person’s hard drive. Thus, companies now store core components of their software on their servers. This is generally referred to as “cloud-based software,” but what exactly is stored online with the Siemens PLM software is still unknown (and they keep this purposefully undisclosed because they track the IP addresses of the computers who run the software and access these files online).

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EVEN IF THE SOFTWARE HAS BEEN REGISTERED using a “SN and an activator,” (as provided on the bittorrent websites), when the software connects to Siemens PLM’s servers to access pieces of the software to run, if the registration code (or more accurately, the Unique ID, as described above) does not match a valid paid registration from their own records, that software unbeknownst to the user is flagged as being unlicensed, and the IP address is recorded.  We now understand that the software user is not made aware of this until he is implicated as a John Doe Defendant in a copyright infringement lawsuit.

EVERY TIME that user uses the NX software, another entry of unlicensed use is recorded (date, time, etc.) and the IP address of the internet connection used when accessing the software is also logged. This is how a Siemens PLM lawsuit against a John Doe engineer can leak over to his employer receiving letters for the infringement of their software, even when the software was acquired at the accused John Doe engineer’s home.

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WHO IS THE TARGET OF THESE LAWSUITS.

I mentioned above that the Siemens PLM lawsuits look deceptively like “copyright troll” lawsuits, but in hindsight, we have learned they are not. Rather than extorting a few thousand dollars from every John Doe Defendant regardless of guilt, Siemens is looking for a particular defendant.

Siemens PLM Software wants to find the engineer who is providing “paid” engineering services, either 1) from his own laptop in his own small business, or 2) from his employer’s place of business where unbeknownst to the employer, that employee is bringing his unlicensed software to his workplace and using that pirated software at work [noting that his work does not own or pay for a license for the software].

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In other words, Siemens PLM wants to find those engineers who are using their software but who are not paying a license for the use of that software, and they want to turn that enterprising engineer into a paying customer. Moreso, Siemens PLM wants to find that company (the employer of that engineer) who is benefiting from the unlicensed use of their software, and to turn that corporate entity into a “volume license” paying customer. This is where the “big bucks” are made.

WHAT IF YOU ARE A STUDENT?

Students are a different story than paid engineers. Just as law students are fed unlimited free case lookup services and are encouraged with points and free coffee mugs for using as much of services as they can [only to be hit with a multi-thousand-dollar subscription upon graduation for what a few days ago was free (think, WestLaw, LexisNexis)], engineering students are seen as the same “cash cows” for Siemens PLM as law students are seen by the WestLaw/Nexis case lookup services. A poor engineering student today is seen by Siemens as a future subscription-based customer for the rest of his working career, and if not, that engineer’s employer will be a “volume license” customer which is even more profitable for Siemens.

If you have not yet figured this out, I have found that engineering students (and those individuals who are smart enough to figure out that the NX software has specific applications for use in conjunction with their 3D printers) find themselves in the spider web of these lawsuits more than anyone else. These individuals ‘mess around’ with the software in ways which do not provide them an income (what we call “non-revenue-producing use,” or “personal use”). Rather, they use the NX software (or more recently, the Solid Edge ST9 software) to gain professional skills knowing that if and when these students do find employment, use of the Siemens PLM software will become a necessity. So the students download it, play around with it, then get sued and call me fearing that their professional lives are over.

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But no attorney at Siemens PLM — not Robert Riddle, Andrew Bluebond, or most recently, James Quail… and certainly not Steven Dietz — wants to end the financial life of a future customer. Aside from the fact that a student has no assets to seize, it is my understanding that Steven Dietz would rather turn that student into a loyal customer. For this reason, I have been able to accomplish resolutions of claims with students in a way in which is simply not available to the engineer who uses Siemens PLM’s unlicensed software for profit.

That is not to say that an engineer won’t be able to “get out” of this lawsuit — it simply takes a bit more work, perhaps paying Siemens PLM a settlement fee based on their particular circumstances (read that again carefully), and based on what software was allegedly used, what module add-ons were used or needed, whether the use was for personal or business reasons, and whether use of the software is still needed in the future.

The Engineer-Student Roommate Scenario

Lastly, [since I am listing scenarios I’ve seen over the past few months,] non-engineering students who have roommates or suitemates who are engineering students also have been the recipients of the subpoena letters from their ISP (most recently, Comcast). While Siemens does not see the non-engineering student or enterprising 3D printer genius as a future customer, your engineering roommate or suitemate is still seen as such, and thus involving him or her as part of the solution can easily fix a $150,000 copyright infringement lawsuit against you.

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In sum, Siemens wants to convert those illegally using their software into customers.

So as you see, Siemens PLM looks like a copyright troll, but they are not. Their attorneys are often not interested in merely a settlement, but in converting the accused John Doe software user into a customer (or, as a future customer). This means that settlements are accepted where there is a future benefit to Siemens PLM, as they are not looking to use the lawsuits as a means to “cash out” or to “punish pirates.” Obviously this could change, and there have been circumstances where it is more feasible to simply defend a client by representing him or her in the federal court rather than having him agree to anything he or she did not do, but for the most part, Siemens PLM seems to be straightforward on what they seek to accomplish with these lawsuits.

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OTHER ARTICLES ON THE SIEMENS PLM SOFTWARE CASES:

How an attorney should handle a Siemens PLM Software, Inc. lawsuit, on 1/11/2017.

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.


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