Ansys goes BIG with Texas lawsuit against 213 John Doe Defendants

Vondran Legal



We have already seen one MASS SOFTWARE PIRACY case filed this year by Siemens, and now on the heels of that lawsuit (also filed in Texas) there is another lawsuit filed by Ansys, Inc. filed by the Law Offices of John F. Lumen out of Houston, Texas. If you received a notice of subpoena from your ISP its because they want to learn your identity, perform due diligence, and decide how they want to respond to the Defendant in the case. In some cases they may want to litigate. In other cases, they may be looking to settle. Regardless, we can help individuals and business owners facing this copyright infringement action.

The case was filed on February 15th, 2023 in the Western District of Texas and the case number is 6:23-cv-00120-ADA-JCM.

NOTE: There is also a pending mass infringement lawsuit Ansys filed on 10/20/22 with case#6:22-cv-01093 that is still working its way through the Texas Western Division (Waco). If you are just now getting a notice of infringement, contact us to discuss at (877) 276-5084. According to the docket, the Court has granted leave to serve third party subpoenas on Comcast.

Ansys case 6:22-CV-01093

Here are some of the allegations made in the complaint:

Plaintiff, ANSYS, Inc. (“Ansys”), brings this action against Does 1 through 213 (collectively “Defendants”), for copyright infringement and violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's (“DMCA”) anti-circumvention prohibitions, and shows the following:

Ansys is a global leader in engineering simulation software. With its portfolio of engineering simulation software, Ansys helps its customers solve complex design challenges and engineer products. Ansys provides services in a wide range of industries, including aerospace and defense, automotive, construction, consumer goods, and energy.

Ansys' flagship products include Ansys Electronics Enterprise, Ansys Fluent, and Ansys Mechanical software programs (“Ansys Software”), which are protected by U.S. Copyright Registration. See Exhibits 1-10.

Ansys Electronics Enterprise is a comprehensive platform for simulating various electrical components, devices, and systems and includes several simulation solutions including Ansys Electronics Premium Maxwell (“Ansys Maxwell”), Ansys Electronics Premium HFSS ("Ansys HFSS”), Ansys Electronics Premium SIwave (“Ansys SIwave”), among others. Ansys CFD Enterprise software is the industry leading fluid simulation software known for its advanced physics modeling capabilities and accuracy.

Ansys Mechanical Enterprise software is a best-in-class finite element solver with structural, thermal, acoustic, and piezoelectric simulation capabilities. 4. Ansys licenses its highly valuable Ansys Software to its customers. Customers may purchase single-use licenses or multi-user licenses. Ansys prevents unauthorized access of the Ansys Software through the use of technological measures.

Ansys' license agreement, which all users see on their computer screens and to which all users must agree to in order to use the Ansys Software, states the Ansys Software may collect information to determine if modifications to certain code files have been made or if there is suspected or confirmed unauthorized access to or use of the Ansys Software.

Despite the fact that Ansys Software includes technological measures to control access to it, and users are put on notice of the same by agreeing to the license agreement, Defendants obtained, installed on their computer systems, and used pirated Ansys Software. Defendants committed willful copyright infringement and DMCA violations when they downloaded pirated Ansys Software, circumvented Ansys' technological measures protecting the software, and used the unlicensed Ansys Software to solve complex design problems and to engineer products and solutions for themselves, their employers, and others.

Although Defendants attempted to hide their theft by anonymously infringing Ansys Software, Defendants' Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) can identify Defendants through his or her IP address. Ansys will seek the identity of Defendants from the ISP. Once known to Ansys, Ansys will amend this Complaint to identify the infringing individuals.

A. How Ansys Software is Legally Purchased and Operated

Ansys generally sells perpetual licenses, annual leases, and maintenance subscriptions to Ansys Software. As long as a maintenance subscription, or the annual lease, is maintained, the customer has access to and may download updates and subsequent versions of the Ansys Software, as well as associated user documentation.

To purchase a license to Ansys Software, a customer must issue a purchase order to Ansys or to an authorized reseller or sign an agreement. To download Ansys Software from Ansys, a customer must log in through their Ansys account. Once Ansys has obtained a signed contract or payment from the customer, the customer can log in to Ansys' customer portal and download the executable files for the licensed Ansys Software.

Ansys also allows students to obtain a license to Ansys Software for free. The student version, however, limits the functionality of the Ansys Software. Student licenses of Ansys Software are obtained directly from Ansys via its website. Students may download the student version of various Ansys products without establishing an Ansys account or providing any information to Ansys.

Once Ansys has obtained a signed contract or payment from the customer, in a separate email, or through a download from the customer portal, Ansys sends the customer a license key for the customer's copy of the purchased Ansys Software. The license key is readable by the licensing tools that are integrated directly into the Ansys Software and facilitates Ansys Software license compliance for its products.

When a user installs an Ansys Software program, and specifically when the user runs the executable files associated with the setup of an Ansys Software program, a local copy of the Ansys Software (the usable, object code version thereof) is created on the user's machine.

When the customer initiates an authorized Ansys Software program, the licensing tools are activated and inquire as to whether that copy of the Ansys Software program is associated with a valid license. If the customer has a valid license, the licensing tools will access and verify the license key. Once the license key is verified, the Ansys Software is enabled for the customer's use. If there is no valid license key, the Software will not start.

Ansys regularly improves, updates, and adds features when it releases new versions of its Ansys Software. Ansys releases at least two major updates of its Ansys Software products and associated user documentation per year, as well as new products developed in-house, acquired through mergers and acquisitions, or OEM'ed (original equipment manufacturer) from third parties. Ansys also releases intermediary updates, or “subreleases,” between the main releases of its Ansys Software.

B. Piracy of Ansys Software

Piracy of software occurs when users access software for which they have not purchased a valid license. The ease of digital replication of software lends itself to illegal copying of software, where users may make multiple copies of a software program, and then distribute the copies to users who have not made a legal purchase of a license to the software (i.e., either distributing copies of the software for free or selling the copies of the software at deeply discounted prices).

To reduce the use of illegally copied software, software providers, including Ansys, implement license verification technology that will prevent the software from functioning unless the user has legally purchased a license. This license verification technology may be a software mechanism or a physical mechanism attached to a single computer.

The license verification technology may be in the form of either a license key (i.e., a series of numbers and letters sometimes stored in a computer file) that a user types in or that the software reads from a file during the software installation process, or a hardwire device, where the software will only operate correctly when the hardware device is attached to the computer executing the software. The license verification technology and the license key are provided by the software provider to the buyer when the software is purchased legally.

Users who have not made a legitimate purchase of a software license will not have access to the license key or hardware device provided by the software provider, and therefore the software will not function properly.

Software hackers reverse engineer the technological measures used to control access to the software and then provide processes and utilities to bypass the license verification technology thus allowing unauthorized use of the software. The hackers' processes and utilities mimic the license verification technology (e.g., keys, hardware devices, etc.) and allow pirated software to function as fully as legally purchased software. Software utilities that mimic the license verification technology are often referred to as “cracked” licenses. Software hackers may also create hacked versions of the software such that a license is not needed during installation.

Sophisticated websites exist where illegally obtained software, the software utilities that mimic the license verification technology, and hacked versions of the software may be downloaded and installed by those who do not want to pay for properly licensed software. Each hacked version of the software represents a lost sale and/or license for the company that owns the software and for resellers of the software (who may provide hardware installation and support, and software configuration, customization, and maintenance).

A study by the Business Software Alliance reported that properly licensed software has a positive impact on national economic activity that is more than three times the impact of pirated software. Software that has been hacked or modified to use a cracked license may also contain malware that can damage computer systems, and/or infiltrate the computer network and the data on the network. In a study conducted by the Technology Policy Institute, the more times users visited piracy sites, the more likely their machines were infected with malware.

Software that has been hacked also may not operate properly, negatively impacting the reputation of the software company that now has no oversight or control over the quality of the hacked versions of its software in use or the products produced by that software.

C. Piracy Detection and Reporting Security Software

Piracy Detection and Reporting Security Software (“PDRSS”) exists to identify instances of pirated software in use and provides the identity and location of organizations utilizing the pirated software to the software providers. Identification of pirated software allows the software providers to take legal action against intentional software piracy, notifying organizations and individuals of the illegal use of the software (and the potential malware problems that can accompany pirated software), and sell valid software licenses in the place of the previously illegally obtained software programs to recoup lost sale.

Ansys identifies pirated software in use through PDRSS which, along with the license verification technology, is a component of the technological measures used to control access to the software. PDRSS also identifies the means by which software hackers have thwarted the license verification technology (i.e., the above-mentioned cracked license) for a particular software program. For example, PDRSS may accomplish this by downloading pirated software from the above-mentioned websites and determining how the software hackers were able to bypass the license verification technology.

Once the software hackers' methods are identified, Ansys can map out a plan for PDRSS to determine when pirated software is in use. This includes identifying when the pirated software is using a cracked license. The plan may include a variety of means for identifying software piracy. The plan may also include defining software use patterns that are indicative of software piracy. PDRSS can determine various patterns that are indicative of pirated software use, and thresholds at which the PDRSS software should begin to gather and report data on the computer using the pirated software.

Software providers, such as Ansys, embed the PDRSS within their software, validate that the patterns and thresholds will trigger on pirated software (and will not trigger on validly purchased software), and then release the software.

The serial number of the license is a unique identifier and helps in identifying unauthorized versions of the software. Multiple versions of software using the same serial number are indicative of unauthorized versions of software using a cracked license. In some cases, illegal license generators create license files having serial numbers that are inconsistent with the serial numbers generated by the software providers, which is also indicative of a cracked license.

The IP address is a unique address used to identify computers on the global network of the internet. An IP address is the numerical sequence by which a computer on the public internet can identify another computer on the public internet. IP addresses are in the form: where each xxx must be a number between 0 – 255. 29. A Media Access Control (“MAC”) address is a unique hardware identifier assigned to network interfaces. Every device that makes a physical connection to the network, where it is an Ethernet card or port or wireless connection, has a unique and specific address.

Thus, a computer with both an Ethernet connection and a wireless connection has two unique MAC addresses. A MAC address is a series of numbers and letters. When a network device is manufactured, it is assigned a MAC address at the factory. The first six digits of a MAC address represent the device manufacturer, which can be looked up on the Internet.

Data reported from the embedded PDRSS generates a report that identifies the software that has been pirated and the organizations utilizing the pirated software, such as the version of the software being used, the license serial number, the IP address of the organization where the pirated software is running, the identifying name of the computer, and a MAC address. Through the technological measures used to control access to the software, Ansys collects this identifying information to determine when pirated and unlicensed versions of its Ansys software are being utilized.

Ansys collects a large volume of data through the use of PDRSS that must be reviewed, analyzed, and investigated to determine and confirm the source of the infringement. Through review, analysis, and investigation of the PDRSS data, Ansys discovered that Defendants used unlicensed and pirated Ansys Software, which included a list of specific IP addresses for each unauthorized installation.

Ansys cannot independently identify the user that installed and used the unlicensed software from this information. However, with an Internet Service Provider (“ISP”) it is possible to determine an individual subscriber from an IP address.

When a subscriber accesses the Internet through its ISP, it is automatically assigned an IP address, which is a unique numerical identifier. The IP address assigned to a particular subscriber is typically tracked by the ISP, which retains “user logs” of information for a certain period of time. The ISP can then identify users from their logs by reference to their IP address.

ISPs are assigned blocks of IP addresses. The blocks that are assigned to specific ISPs are publicly available on Internet databases. Accordingly, once an IP address is known it is fairly simple to determine which ISP assigned the IP address. Pirated versions of the Ansys software cannot be downloaded and installed accidentally or innocently. Rather, downloading and installing pirated Ansys Software is a multistep process that requires willful and deliberate action to circumvent technological measures that are put in place to deter and detect such conduct.

As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' acts of infringement, Ansys has suffered damages and will continue to suffer damages through loss of substantial licensing revenue, and diminishment of the exclusivity, inherent value, and marketability of the Ansys Software.

As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' acts of infringement, Ansys has suffered and continues to suffer irreparable harm for which there is no adequate remedy at law.


Here is a list of the various copyright programs at issue for alleged infringement in this lawsuit.

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0008973265, registered on March 23, 2021, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys 2020 R2

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0009005702, registered on March 23, 2021, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys 2021 R1.

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0009009247, registered on August 20, 2021, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys 2021 R2.

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0009104363, registered on March 24, 2022, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys 2022 R1.

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0009175204, registered on September 7, 2022, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys 2022 R2.

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0009005706, registered on March 23, 2021, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys Electromagnetics Suite 2020 R2.

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0009005711, registered on March 23, 2021, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys Electromagnetics Suite 2021 R1.

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0009002716, registered on August 20, 2021, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys Electromagnetics Suite 2021 R2.

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0009104430, registered on March 24, 2022, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys Electromagnetics Suite 2022 R1.

Ansys owns U.S. Copyright Registration No. TX0009179826, registered on September 7, 2022, to ANSYS, Inc. and titled “Ansys Electromagnetics Suite 2022 R2.



Proceeding Text




COMPLAINT ( Filing fee $ 402 receipt number ATXWDC-17088127). No Summons requested at this time, filed by Ansys, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Exhibit 6, # 7 Exhibit 7, # 8 Exhibit 8, # 9 Exhibit 9, # 10 Exhibit 10, # 11 Civil Cover Sheet)(Luman, John) (Entered: 02/15/2023)




RULE 7 DISCLOSURE STATEMENT filed by Ansys, Inc.. (Luman, John) (Entered: 02/15/2023)



Please remember to comply with the standing orders located at (zv) (Entered: 02/16/2023)






Clerk's Office contacted Plaintiff's counsel in regard to the AO 121 form for Copyright Infringement case. Clerk's Office will be mailing copy to the Register of Copyrights. (zv) Modified on 2/17/2023 (zv). (Entered: 02/16/2023)




Report on Copyright sent to Register of Copyrights via USPS with a copy of the Original Complaint re 1 . (zv) (Entered: 02/17/2023)




Unopposed MOTION for Leave to Serve Third-Party Subpoenas Prior to a Rule 26(f) Conference by Ansys, Inc.. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order). Motions referred to Judge Jeffrey C. Manske. (Luman, John) (Entered: 02/23/2023)

Events since last full update



ORDER GRANTING 4 Unopposed Motion for Leave to Serve Third-Party Subpoenas Prior to a Rule 26(f) Conference. Signed by Judge Jeffrey C. Manske. (zv) (Entered: 02/23/2023)

Events since last full update

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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