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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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