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How Reverse Engineering Services Saved This Software Business

In 1992, there was a high-profile U.S. software copyright case involving Nintendo’s NES video game console and cartridges. Reverse engineering services played a big part in the legal proceedings.

The backstory goes like this …

Nintendo developed a security system for their NES, so that only video games they developed would operate on the NES.

The security system consisted of two microprocessors: a “master” chip in the console and a “slave” chip in the cartridge of a video game. When a gamer inserted the cartridge into the console, the chips both generated and exchanged values. If the final numbers of the two chips were equal, the console unlocked and the gamer proceeded to play.

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Atari used Reverse Engineering Services

Enter Atari, a video game company who used reverse engineering to analyze the output of the NES security program. Although this attempt initially failed, and Atari became a Nintendo licensee, they continued their reverse engineering efforts, cracked the code (so to speak) and began marketing their own games for NES.

Atari, Reverse Engineering And Patent Infringement Litigation

After Atari produced unauthorized NES-compatible games, Nintendo filed a lawsuit for copyright and patent infringement. Because Nintendo received a U.S. patent for their NES security system, Atari’s own patent reverse engineering efforts raised rather obvious suspicions of patent infringement. Also, as part of their patent reverse engineering process, Atari ultimately committed an act of fraud against the Copyright Office.

Although Atari wrote different programs to generate the results required by the NES, the court granted Nintendo partial summary judgment on its patent infringement claims and ruled that Atari’s “Rabbit” program infringed upon the NES patent.

How Reverse Engineering Helped Nintendo Win Their Patent Infringement Case

Although patent reverse engineering is what allowed Atari to infringe on Nintendo’s NES security system patent, it was also reverse engineering that helped Nintendo mount a solid case against Atari when the time came to take them to court. A reverse engineering service team performed a teardown of Atari’s Rabbit to conduct its patent infringement analysis.

Defending against competitor threats on your intellectual property often requires that you outsource reverse engineering services. Through a team of experts in technology teardown tactics of technologies, the evidence uncovered is commonly a deciding factor in court.

When you partner with the right intellectual property consulting firm, you get a team of experts that works alongside your internal counsel and any external legal counsel to support your IP claims both in and out of the courtroom. As a stealthy, strategic partner in pre-trial preparations, this team helps your company enter the courtroom prepared to achieve the best possible outcome.

Ready to learn more about how reverse engineering services help protect your patents and defend them during patent infringement litigation? Contact the Patent Miners at TechPats today.




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