SEMI and EDA Industry Leaders Unite to Combat Software Piracy

ESD Alliance to Lead Joint Effort with Cadence, Mentor, a Siemens Business, and Synopsys to Create Server Certification Protocol


MILPITAS, CALIF. – August 5, 2020 – SEMI, Cadence, Mentor, a Siemens Business, and Synopsys today announced plans to jointly develop an industry-standard protocol to combat electronic design automation (EDA) software piracy, a growing and costly problem for software vendors and their users. Under the partnership, the organizations will develop the SEMI Server Certification Protocol, a standard that will provide strong protection against piracy by defining how servers can be uniquely identified.

Currently, most software license management systems rely on a license manager that runs on a server typically identified by a machine identifier. The problem is that software pirates can clone the machine identifier due to virtualization technologies, to gain illegitimate access to many additional licenses without added cost.

“This joint development effort highlights SEMI’s ability to gather industry players to solve critical problems,” said Bob Smith, the ESD Alliance’s executive director. “We look forward to working with EDA industry leaders Cadence, Mentor and Synopsys to develop this much-needed protocol that will provide protection against piracy.”

“Software piracy is a growing challenge and threatens to stifle innovation for EDA companies and customers alike,” said Nimish Modi, senior vice president of market and business development at Cadence. “We are glad to collaborate with the industry on defining this new standard to help further the efforts towards a comprehensive anti-piracy strategy.”

“New technologies and solutions have enabled other segments of the software industry to combat piracy,” said Arun Venkatachar, vice president of Synopsys central engineering. “It is time for EDA to be on par with the rest of the industry. This collaborative effort from both vendors and customers is critical for an effective anti-piracy strategy.”

“Software piracy ultimately hurts our honest customers since their competitors can gain an unfair advantage by reducing software costs,” said Joe Sawicki, executive vice president, IC EDA for Mentor, a Siemens Business. “Theft also raises the price of products sold to legitimate users. Together with our industry peers, Mentor will work to establish a new anti-piracy standard that protects against theft and provides a level playing field for all.”

The License Management/Anti-Piracy (LMA) Committee within the Electronic System Design Alliance (ESD Alliance) will manage the partnership. Cadence, Mentor and Synopsys are members of the LMA Committee. The ESD Alliance is a SEMI Technology Community representing members in the electronic system and semiconductor design ecosystem.

The LMA Committee works with the Centralized Enterprise Licensing User Group (CELUG), a community within HPC Pros comprised of IT professionals and users of system design automation software to address common software licensing issues.

“HPC Pros’ CELUG is pleased to support the ESD Alliance’s continuing efforts to provide a secure license infrastructure,” said Derek Magill, executive director of HPC Pros. “The LMA Committee has worked closely with CELUG to ensure that the certification process will be compatible with the diverse environments of tool customers. Deployment of this capability will increase our confidence that all licenses used are fairly acquired, making it harder for unethical competitors to gain competitive advantage through the theft of licenses.”