Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software, Inc. has filed a lawsuit against 100 anonymous Doe parties, alleging infringement of various forms of Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) software for which Siemens holds copyrights.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, with Case No. 4:15-cv-00017 , says that the PLM software:
…allows companies to manage the entire lifecycle of a product efficiently and cost-effectively, from ideation, design and manufacture, through service and disposal. PLM software brings together computer-aided design (“CAD”), computer-aided manufacturing (“CAM”), computer-aided engineering (“CAE”), product data management (“PDM”) and digital manufacturing. By providing the application depth and breadth needed to digitally author, validate and manage the detailed product and process data, PLM supports innovation by its customers.
Among the works claimed to be infringed are several versions of a suite known as “NX,” as well as several versions of “SolidEdge,” which is described as “an industry-leading mechanical design system with exceptional tools for creating and managing 3D digital prototypes.”
As for the Does, they are described as being unknown aside from a related IP address. The infringing conduct is vaguely described, with the Does alleged to have used “a computer with an Internet connection to download and/or use certain of the Copyrighted Software,” without any indication whether the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol was involved.
The Siemens lawsuit is not entirely clear as to why this particular venue was selected. It is commonly presumed that a good share of the infringement of highly valuable commercial software occurs in foreign countries. Also, as a result of a number of federal court decisions over the past few years made in BitTorrent lawsuits, new filings are typically located in a district to which geolocation software has traced a suspect group of IP addresses engaged in file-sharing activity, and the courts have generally accepted that geolocation software is accurate. The Siemens complaint makes allegations regarding personal jurisdiction and venue that are fairly vague and stated “on information and belief,” with no mention of geolocation.
However, the Eastern District has been known for several years as a plaintiff-friendly hotbed for patent infringement filings, the New York Times has reported. According to another report on the District, patent infringement plaintiffs win cases there at a rate of 88%, as opposed to 68% nationwide.
On August 27, 2015, Siemens filed a second, virtually identical lawsuit against another 100 Does in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, with Case No. 4:15-cv-00582.
UPDATE (6/13/16): Siemens filed yet another similar case against another 100 Does, this time in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, based in Houston, with Case No. 4:16-cv-01422.
UPDATE (1/7/17): Siemens filed yet another similar case against another 100 Does in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, with Case No. 4:16-cv-03552.
UPDATE (8/11/17): Siemens filed yet another similar case against another 93 Does in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, with Case No. 4:17-cv-01796.