Ethics of reverse engineering - Page 3
Close
Login to Your Account
Page 3 of 3 FirstFirst 123
Results 41 to 55 of 55
  1. #41
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Oregon
    Posts
    5,034
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    4239
    Likes (Received)
    1814

    Default

    Back when I had access to a real Engineering library, I spent some time thumbing through the IBM and Xerox technical disclosure documents. Xerographic copiers of the day (1970's, 1980's) applied a charge to the toner drum through an array of "corona wires". There was a patent for corona wires arranged parallel to the drum axis, another patent for corona wires arranged circularly around the drum circumference, and just to make sure everybody was locked out of other options, a third patent for corona wires arranged helically around the drum, either single-handed or both-handed as in a diamond knurl.

  2. Likes barbter liked this post
  3. #42
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Milwaukee,WI
    Posts
    1,280
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    6885
    Likes (Received)
    996

    Default

    R&D stands for raid and duplicate. You will never stop it. Just keep improving your product.

  4. Likes Oldwrench, Mcgyver liked this post
  5. #43
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Webster Groves, MO
    Posts
    7,188
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1804
    Likes (Received)
    3265

    Default

    40+ years ago, through a complicated series of events, I came into possession of a new Monsanto oscilloscope. Monsanto was briefly in the electronic instrument business but found that they were a lot more comfortable selling Roundup, a decision they may regret now. Anyway, the story was that they formed their design department by raiding Tectronix. It seems that the top people wanted to stay where they were, understandable, so what Monsanto got was the second string, who designed last year's Tektronix oscilloscope. I took it to the local Tek office to see if their probes would work with it. Their guys had a field day pointing out all the obsolete features.

    Bill

  6. #44
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Wyoming
    Posts
    3,216
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    7739
    Likes (Received)
    5175

    Default

    A patent does not exclude others from making and selling your patented product, it merely gives you the right to exclude others from selling it. In other words, it gives you the right to litigate—which is in most cases of dubious value.

    The strict answer to the OP question is that reverse engineering is perfectly legal, and so is offering the result for sale, if you aren't deterred by the possibility of an infringement suit. And if you're making something for your own use and not offering it for sale, you can reverse engineer and copy anything you are able to, including making your own shop equipment. Or your own Coca-Cola.

  7. Likes Philabuster liked this post
  8. #45
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Webster Groves, MO
    Posts
    7,188
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1804
    Likes (Received)
    3265

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    A patent does not exclude others from making and selling your patented product, it merely gives you the right to exclude others from selling it. In other words, it gives you the right to litigate—which is in most cases of dubious value.

    The strict answer to the OP question is that reverse engineering is perfectly legal, and so is offering the result for sale, if you aren't deterred by the possibility of an infringement suit. And if you're making something for your own use and not offering it for sale, you can reverse engineer and copy anything you are able to, including making your own shop equipment. Or your own Coca-Cola.
    The law also applies to products produced with a patented device. I am not even sure that you can make a copy, but I know that selling products constitutes infringement. In other words, if you make money with it, they can sue you.

    Bill

  9. #46
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Wyoming
    Posts
    3,216
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    7739
    Likes (Received)
    5175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 9100 View Post
    I am not even sure that you can make a copy
    YES, you can make a copy. Of absolutely anything as long as you don't offer it for sale (with the well known exception of certain military weapons and ordnance, which you aren't even allowed to make for your own use unless they use black powder).

  10. #47
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Webster Groves, MO
    Posts
    7,188
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1804
    Likes (Received)
    3265

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    YES, you can make a copy. Of absolutely anything as long as you don't offer it for sale (with the well known exception of certain military weapons and ordnance, which you aren't even allowed to make for your own use unless they use black powder).
    It was a long time ago and the laws may have changed, but when people were investigating the Dean Drive, the company G. Harry Stein worked for wanted to make one to play with and the inventor refused to give them permission. That could have lead to sales, but this was only for evaluation. It didn't work anyway, the inventor fooled himself in a unique way.

    Bill

  11. #48
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Virginia
    Posts
    121
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    133
    Likes (Received)
    16

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    YES, you can make a copy. Of absolutely anything as long as you don't offer it for sale (with the well known exception of certain military weapons and ordnance, which you aren't even allowed to make for your own use unless they use black powder).
    I don't think that's correct. Making, selling, offering to sell, or using are all ways you can infringe the patent.

  12. #49
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Staten Island NewYork USA
    Posts
    3,699
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1074
    Likes (Received)
    1761

    Default

    I make lots of stuff for customers..duh? Anyway I make stuff from their ideas when they use a made product that they think they can make better. So we sit and brainstorm a bit and if different enough and more better-er we make, they use and bring to market. None of the items are patented, few of the items I make get patented...most of my customers just want to skim the cream, then flood the market before the next guy knocks them off.
    That said, when we brainstorm alot of features are put in that make it tough to be knocked off unless they have my equipment and tricks...also makes it tough for my customer to take assembles and parts to other machine shops and undercut me.

    Funny, but when I look at expensive machined parts and assemblies I know I could make for less...when I add up all the parts, tools fixtures, programming its almost always cheaper to just buy unless made in numbers. We do the same...

  13. #50
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    New Jersey
    Posts
    216
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    66
    Likes (Received)
    95

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Hightemp View Post
    I don't think that's correct. Making, selling, offering to sell, or using are all ways you can infringe the patent.
    That's correct. But it's extremely rare to see litigation over internal copies for a variety of reasons. Selling them is a different story.

  14. #51
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Wyoming
    Posts
    3,216
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    7739
    Likes (Received)
    5175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pariel View Post
    That's correct. But it's extremely rare to see litigation over internal copies for a variety of reasons. Selling them is a different story.
    An infringement suit against somebody who built his very own gizmo copy would seem most improbable, winning such a suit even more so. Detecting it in the first place assumes the guy didn't control access to his shop! I wouldn't hesitate to build a copy of anything I needed, provided I had the capability to do it economically.

  15. Likes Philabuster liked this post
  16. #52
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Arizona
    Posts
    4,558
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    18360
    Likes (Received)
    4297

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    A patent does not exclude others from making and selling your patented product, it merely gives you the right to exclude others from selling it. In other words, it gives you the right to litigate—which is in most cases of dubious value.
    Just to clarify, a patent gives the holder the right to defend the patent by trying to sue the offending party. The law itself does not keep people from copying the patent. I say trying because just how much money are you willing to spend, as an individual, on attorney's fees and other litigation costs to protect your patent from say China? You could go flat broke in the process and it wouldn't change a thing.

    Keep in mind, ANYTHING you patent is made public to the entire world via the web nowadays. You are essentially hand delivering the information needed to copy your patent to whomever searches the patent number.

  17. Likes Oldwrench liked this post
  18. #53
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    New Jersey
    Posts
    216
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    66
    Likes (Received)
    95

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post
    An infringement suit against somebody who built his very own gizmo copy would seem most improbable, winning such a suit even more so. Detecting it in the first place assumes the guy didn't control access to his shop! I wouldn't hesitate to build a copy of anything I needed, provided I had the capability to do it economically.
    The question posed in the thread title was ethics of reverse engineering, not ability to do it and get away with it.

    From the standpoint of getting away with it, controlling access is much more difficult when (as in OP's case) you have vendor hardware already on site that may be serviced by outside parties, a company with multiple locations and employees who leave to work in related companies or industries, thus potentially carrying that information out.

    From both a legal and ethical standpoint the safest course of action is to work around the patent. In the unlikely event that is prohibitively expensive, the question gets more interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Philabuster View Post
    Just to clarify, a patent gives the holder the right to defend the patent by trying to sue the offending party. The law itself does not keep people from copying the patent. I say trying because just how much money are you willing to spend, as an individual, on attorney's fees and other litigation costs to protect your patent from say China? You could go flat broke in the process and it wouldn't change a thing.

    Keep in mind, ANYTHING you patent is made public to the entire world via the web nowadays. You are essentially hand delivering the information needed to copy your patent to whomever searches the patent number.
    You're not wrong from the standpoint of an individual seeking a patent, but for a medium or large company patents are often used to strongarm smaller companies regardless of their validity.

    Also, lots of patent claims (and probably most or all patents that are truly inventions) lack the specific details of a design that actually allow it to be manufactured. Usually some combination of expertise, R&D, and equipment is the real barrier to copying. The litigation is just the stick to make it painful afterwards.

  19. #54
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Country
    UNITED STATES
    State/Province
    Wyoming
    Posts
    3,216
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    7739
    Likes (Received)
    5175

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pariel View Post
    The question posed in the thread title was ethics of reverse engineering, not ability to do it and get away with it.
    A meaningless distinction in a forum of owners/founders of machine shops, who are among the most aggressively entreprenurial individuals in the world...

  20. #55
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Webster Groves, MO
    Posts
    7,188
    Post Thanks / Like
    Likes (Given)
    1804
    Likes (Received)
    3265

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Pariel View Post
    The question posed in the thread title was ethics of reverse engineering, not ability to do it and get away with it.

    From the standpoint of getting away with it, controlling access is much more difficult when (as in OP's case) you have vendor hardware already on site that may be serviced by outside parties, a company with multiple locations and employees who leave to work in related companies or industries, thus potentially carrying that information out.

    From both a legal and ethical standpoint the safest course of action is to work around the patent. In the unlikely event that is prohibitively expensive, the question gets more interesting.



    You're not wrong from the standpoint of an individual seeking a patent, but for a medium or large company patents are often used to strongarm smaller companies regardless of their validity.
    Ralph Heinz of Jack & Heinz, Heinz & Kaufmann, and Penta Labs, was known for a superb organizer. RCA sued him for infringing one of their patents. When they got to court and saw his display of assemblies and models, they realized they would lose, invalidating the patent and depriving them of the ability to threaten all the other companies who wanted to use the methodology. They withdrew the suit.

    Bill


Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •