Synopsys Accuses Fortinet of Bypassing License Keys


March 2019

Multi-national software publisher; Synopsys, Inc. seems to be quite active in pursuing legal action against alleged infringement of its software copyrights and software piracy. Following publication of reports related to its recent lawsuit against Ubiquity Networks, on 15th February 2019, it filed another complaint, this time against security firm: Fortinet, Inc., in Californian Courts. 

Case Number 5:19-cv-00853: Synopsys, Inc. v. Fortinet, Inc. 

In its filing, Synopsys alleges that Fortinet infringed copyright by bypassing security protocols resulting in unlicensed copies of its software application, which materially breached the terms and conditions of license agreements between both parties. 

Requesting injunction, potential statutory & actual damages, accounting, legal and any other costs, Synopsys alleges that whilst an agreement between both parties commenced in 2005, with purchases made of specific license applications, Fortinet was only authorised to use a maximum of one application at any given time. This limitation was technically enforced by a common license key mechanism embedded into the software by Synopsys. 

Synopsys alleges that Fortinet bypassed its license key system by redefining identifying data on various servers, resulting in the opportunity to use additional unlicensed copies of its software concurrently, which was not a feature of the agreement and consequently prohibited under the terms of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). 

Synopsys declares that it has suffered irreparable harm and expects damages to be defined by the court, further requesting that the judge considers the maximum penalty applicable per violation for these infringements. 

The nature of Synopsys software applications and the need to take this case to court, jeopardises reputations and potentially severs relationships between the two, indicating that any settlement could be worth millions of Dollars. 

Synopsys states that due to the consideration that Fortinet used technical measures to bypass its software use limitations, it knew that its actions were unlawful and that it did this to avoid paying license fees for its unauthorised use of Synopsys software. 

Fortinet has not responded to the accusations yet. 

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