Design Engineering

DWG battle continues?

By Design Engineering Staff   


USPTO registration deadline of file extension looms for Autodesk.

Over at his WorldCAD Access blog, CAD journalist Ralph Grabowski has posted a concise synopsis of the complex legal manoeuvrings behind Autodesk and DS Solidworks battle over the use of the .dwg file extension. In addition, based on deadlines set out by the U.S. patent office, he speculates that the battle may be coming to a head in the coming week.

For Autodesk, solidifying trademark control of the file extension – and, more precisely, the letters DWG as a brand/logo – has been strategically important. Many of its customers, who have millions in design capital tied up in the file format, continue to pay for the piece of mind that they will be able to access, edit and output that content whenever needed.

For DS Solidworks (and others in 2D/3D CAD software), the stakes are potentially just as high. If the letters DWG are freely available to use in the marketing/branding of their compatible 2D software, it will further erode the perceived lock-in afforded by the file format. What’s more, competing 2D CAD software, like DS’ free DraftSight, will make migration all that much less painful for “on-the-fence” prospects debating which 3D package to adopt.

The coming week may see the trademark issue wither (or reignite) within U.S. patent office.
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