EE Times' Dylan McGrath has reported on electronic design automation (EDA) vendor AWR Corp. filing a complaint in U.S. federal court against telecom equipment supplier ZTE. AWR alleges that ZTE has installed and used unlicensed versions of its software. [UPDATE: Court finds for AWR over ZTE in piracy case]
The complaint details an interesting picture of software piracy "brought by a small but successful technology company against one of the largest telecom conglomerates in the world." (Complaint, p. 1)
Software vendors aren't the only ones that should be upset - this case highlights the advantage an infringing business in China has over its western competitors when it avoids paying millions of dollars in license costs that their competitors incur as normal part of doing business. It also reinforces the data our CodeArmor Intelligence customers are reporting: 40-50 percent of the infringement data is coming from China.
Consider these allegations included in the complaint:
The complaint names specific computers where AWR discovered unauthorized copies of its software. It also names some of the "eleven (11) ZTE employees [that] have registered on AWR's website to obtain access to support services and documentation" from just one of the IP addresses AWR identified. (Complaint, p. 7)
Most software vendors who have dealt with piracy will not be surprised to read that ZTE employees attended no-cost seminars that AWR held to educate the telecommunications industry on the benefits of using AWR's software:
"In March and April 2010, at least 14 ZTE employees, from ZTE offices throughout China, consisting of engineers and other technology developers, attended these seminars. At these seminars, ZTE employees asked AWR representatives sophisticated questions regarding the AWR Software that only experienced users would know to ask." (Emphasis added.
AWR alleges that "ZTE placed great importance in allowing its employees to attend these seminars, which were all-day in
A case like AWR vs. ZTE underscores that real and significant license revenue recovery opportunities exist when software vendors identify businesses that can and should pay for licenses. The challenge for software vendors, now, is to:
We'll be watching this case with interest and will share our comments and any best practices we can glean.
Marketing Director at Revulytics
Michael is Marketing Director at Revulytics where he is responsible for corporate marketing, content, and social media. He has helped to educate the industry on the benefits of software usage analytics for compliance and product management through the company's blog and contributed articles in trade publications. Michael was previously a marketing programs manager at The MathWorks and principal at Goff Communications. Michael earned a J.D. from Boston University School of Law and a B.A. from Colgate University.
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