Regulations about using our CAE/CAD software installations

"Regulations about using our CAE/CAD software installations" as a PDF file.


To all persons that benefit from CAE/CAD tools, data or documentation at the "Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering" (D-ITET) of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zürich

Subject: CAE/CAD software, libraries, technology information and design data 

Ladies and gentlemen,

the Microelectronics Design Center makes available a vast array of industrial CAE/CAD tools to D-ITET students and staff. By making use of these facilities, you commit yourself to be aware of the applicable contractual obligations and to consistently adhere to them. Be sure to understand that projects that involve industry in one way or another require special care. More specifically, let me bring the following facts to your attention:

  1. Authorised Users


Only persons currently being employed by ETH or being enrolled as a student are entitled to make use of our CAE/CAD software installations. Permission automatically terminates when a person is no longer considered as an employee or as a student by ETH administration.

  1. Limitations on EDA software

Almost all software packages that ETH has purchased or leased are subject to license agreements that define their legal usage. University discounts are typically being accorded in exchange for restricted rights. License keys, executables, source code, etc. and even software manuals are strictly confidential. Some vendors have reserved the right to conduct inspections on the premises of ETH at any time.

  1. Limitations on technology data 


Not only software, but also seemingly passive data such as technology files, cell libraries, virtual components (= intellectual property modules), device and circuit models are subject to contractual restrictions with respect to usage and circulation. Neither semiconductor manufacturers nor library vendors do give insight into their process data and intellectual property unless a non-disclosure agreement has been signed. 

  1. Commercial use prohibited


Although company policies may slightly differ, what they all have in common is that usage is granted in the context of teaching and academic research at ETH Zurich exclusively. Any commercial usage of software, libraries, models or design data is strictly prohibited. The same holds true for giving third parties access to any such resource or for otherwise allowing them to take advantage thereof. 

  1. No unauthorized disclosure of data


Before any design data produced with the aid of a CAE/CAD tool are being transferred to an external partner, an official authorization by the software vendor must be present in written form. Much the same holds true for library and technology data. 

  1. Compensation in case of industrial use


Many companies are willing to negotiate exceptions with industrial partners of ETH such as to allow for the commercialization of one specific design established with a university license. However, this is strictly on a per case basis and needs the prior consent of all companies involved. Compensation payments are to be settled in negotiations between the industrial partner and the software and/or library vendors. 

  1. Information and compliance


CAE/CAD users and project managers are in charge of keeping themselves informed about applicable contractual limitations and of adhering to them. It is also their obligation to tell industrial partners about such limitations during the project planning phase. Vendors of licensed software, libraries or models are to be informed honestly about any project where industrial interest could possibly become an issue so that there is sufficient time and room to negotiate compensations.

  1. Discretion


Software vendors, semiconductor manufacturers, and library vendors do not want to see their products and services commented in public. Users are thus strongly discouraged from comparing performance against competing products and from disclosing any shortcomings, no matter whether alleged or real, in publications, web pages or news groups.

  1. Liability declined


The persons in charge of acquiring, installing and operating the software, models, technology and design data, can not be held responsible for the usage made of them by others. Rather, the responsability for complying with contractual obligations rests with the respective users, project managers and, ultimately, with their professors. The license agreements for the various software packages maintained are available at the Microelectronics Design Center for inspection.

  1. No pirate software


ETH condemns the use of illegally copied software and of cracked licenses. Any liability for such practices on personal computers owned by students, employees, and others is formally declined. Supervisors refuse to accept student exercises and projects if they find out that design data have been obtained with the aid of unlicensed software.


Clearly, all of the above limitations hold indiscriminately for the design of ICs, MCMs, PCBs and of electrical circuits and systems in general. The Microelectronics Design Center reserves the right to prosecute any attempt to make illegal use of its software installations. Be informed that any infraction of contractual obligations may have dramatic consequences both for the persons involved and for ETH (withdrawal of licenses, disruption of software operation, loss of credibility, legal action, dismissal, removal from the university's register, and alike).

The above rules are consistent with the general "Benutzungsordnung für Telematik" available at which they complement in more specific terms for electronics CAE/CAD.  

Please do not hesitate to contact us with further questions.

Zürich, June 10 1997, November 4 1999, May 16 2001, May 11 2004, November 1 2005, and November 11 2010,

H. Kaeslin (date of mailing to and of updates respectively)