The IT Law Wiki


Reverse engineering is

the process of starting with the known product and working backwards to divine the process which aided in its development or manufacture.[1]
[the] [p]rocess of evaluating something to understand how it works in order to duplicate or enhance it. Particularly relevant in the copyright field where reverse engineering of software may be necessary to ensure interoperability with other programs. Also relevant, for example, to semiconductors and the production of generic medicines.[2]


  1. Kewanee Oil Co. v. Bicron Corp., 416 U.S. 470, 476 (1974) (full-text).
  2. Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy, Glossary.