Before expending the effort necessary to reverse engineer a device or object, it must be definite that the object under study is not covered by one or more patents. This avoids a dispute over patent violations. Once it has been established that no patent coverage exists, one can use multiple techniques to reverse engineer a product. These are summarized below:
Simple Parts: For simple parts a micrometer and/or calipers can be used to determine specific dimensions.
Caution: Although dimensions of existing parts are measurable, one cannot measure the tolerances for these parts. These must be determined by other methods.
Introduction: After the dimensions have been determined, it is important to determine the material from which the device has been made. There are various categories of materials, and each requires a different analytical technique.
Glass and Ceramics: These are best analyzed with X-ray fluorescence analysis. Legitimate reverse engineering is best demonstrated by the process procedure and data collected during the effort, and this information must be kept intact to prove the legitimacy of the reverse engineering claim. In addition, it is helpful to have personnel that can demonstrate their knowledge of the part, its function and its limitations.
Dr. Thomas L. Read Dr. Thomas L. Read, CEO of Read Consulting received his PhD. from Stanford University in 1972. He has over 25 years of manufacturing experience in electronics, metallurgy, factory safety, failure analysis, glass fracture, glass failure and bottle failure. As a member of the electronics industry, Dr. Read has earned process patents and has an extensive background in manufacturing techniques. In parallel, he has spent over twenty five years as a consultant to attorneys and engineers in the areas of failure analysis, metallurgy, glass fracture, glass failure, bottle failure, factory safety, manufacturing problems, intellectual property and patent disputes.
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