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Autodesk Dynamic Block Patents

 In my search for a way to create dynamic blocks, other than purchasing AutoCAD, I asked another vendor if their product supported this.  He replied that Autodesk patents prevent them from offering this feature.  But, apparently, the software vendors are not concerned over offering the ability to use existing dynamic blocks. I am puzzled over the difference.

I know vendors such as IntelliCAD and Bricsys have to create a way to read/write to the DWG files where we store our drawing data. They are not really reverse engineering the software. Rather, they are reverse engineering the DWG format.   Can't they do the same for the Dynamic Block object?

I know the vendor I corresponded specifically said the Dynamic Blocks are patented. But, are any other types of drawing objects also patented?

GStarCAD is the only other program I know of, that offers the Dynamic Block creation feature. If there is a patent issue, how do they get around it? Or perhaps they ignore it.... China is not exactly known for recognizing intellectual property rights. This is part of my company's hesitance to purchase that program.



  • Thank goodness we don't have to rent lines and circles from autodesk.
    Patents generally last for 20 years.
    Same in China, but they also have 'utility' patents lasting 10 years - about how long DB's have been around.
    Just guessing maybe that's why in doesn't apply in China.
  •  If a shorter patent life in China is what gives them the ability to do dynamic blocks, then I am surprised that Autodesk has not acted to block them from being able to sell in the U.S..  Though, I imagine when sales are over the internet, it is a lot harder to block such things.

  • ... does all that mean: in the next years we will not be able to generate dynamic blocks in BricsCAD?
  • As an update, I should comment that reading and interpreting a data file is what permits a user to have access to the data his work created. So, that has some protection from being prevented by patent laws. So, BricsCAD can read and use preexisting dynamic blocks without real concern.

    Also, it should be noted that BricsCAD has recently added a feature called parametric block. It does some of the things that dynamic blocks do. Hopefully, this will continue to get better in the future.

    I know there were 3rd party programs for AutoCAD back in v10, that allowed you to insert a parametric block. Though, I don't know if you could edit the block after it was inserted into the drawing. Though, I can see how Bricsys could take the same approach, and even provide a way to update these parametric blocks, without running into of Autodesk's patents.

    As an aside, in the development of the steam engine, I recall reading how there was a lot of effort to make these complex mechanisms that would keep the shaft of a steam engine piston parallel to the cylinder, and ones to convert linear motion to circular motion... all to avoid other people's patents.



  • This is a very interesting topic and view that you have. The downside of dynamic blocks was the programming spectre of the anonymous block name that had to be taken into account. Yuck!

    Let's hope the BricsCAD development talent will go one better in their pursuit of parametrically-based blocks.
    I am sold on BricsCAD in just a few months of use both in regards to its perpetual license, functionality, and the ability to employ LISP in their basic version for my coworkers.

    I now use Platinum with CADWorx Plant.

    C. Hill

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