Reverse Engineering

Patent licensing is big business. Thus, investing in your Intellectual Property (IP), and defending it can entail spending a lot of money on R &D, on uncovering prior art, on lawyers and on contentious matters in court.  This is true for many major corporations – from Apple Inc. and IBM to BAE Systems and Bayer.

When building or executing any successful patent licensing program, it’s important to be able to prove evidence of infringement, often reverse engineering methods can help in this regard.

Reverse engineering is a process which entails ascertaining whether or not patented inventions are being utilised by a particular entity or undertaking and the manner in which this is being done. However, the process can also be done on non-patented innovations. The process may involve buying a product that is of interest and breaking it apart so as to understand how it works, what its constituents are, the materials it is made from, and sometimes its flaws or limitations.

Reverse engineering can include circuit analysis (delayering, extractions of interconnections and components, creation of schematics and netlists – to identify how the device works); System and Process analysis (how devices are used together, how they are built and what they are made of). The process may also include using sniffers and data capture analysis of signals and software inside of or in between chips.

Reverse Engineering may be used to find evidence of patent infringement in various industries/ sectors. While it is easier to reverse-engineer certain products, some sectors pose particular challenges due to the complexity of the processes which may be involved. This means, sometimes, guidance is found in patent specification as to how a particular technology has been implemented.  For example, the identification of organic materials used in certain dielectrics or optical waveguides can be challenging, due to both the small quantities of material that are normally used n dielectrics, and the huge range of possible combinations that can be created from the primary materials.

Reverse Engineering may be useful in identifying if Patent infringement has occurred. This may involve comparing relevant patent claims to the results of a reverse-engineered product.

Further, reverse engineering may be critical when dealing with Non Practicing Entities (NPEs). NPEs are companies that assert patents they own, but which do not develop or sell any products of their own. Reverse engineering can be used to prove non-infringement, as well as uncovering prior art evidence which can be used in invalidation or revocation proceedings against the patent being enforced.

Sanrixa has expertise in reverse engineering both simple and complex products. We can help you uncover “knock-out” prior art, that can help invalidate a patent, and can provide you with an in-depth infringement and validity assessment that gives you reassurance as to the position of your product with respect to a particular invention. Our processes may involve reviewing patent literature following in-depth patent searches, reviewing product and standards documentation, performing physical inspections, board level circuit tracings, material scanning, and undertaking functional testing of devices / products.

For more details, please contact us with your specific requirements.

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