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Return on Investment Analysis for Implementing Barriers to Reverse Engineering

[+] Author Affiliations
Darren C. Knight, Christopher A. Mattson

Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Paper No. DETC2011-47094, pp. 977-986; 10 pages
  • ASME 2011 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 5: 37th Design Automation Conference, Parts A and B
  • Washington, DC, USA, August 28–31, 2011
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5482-2
  • Copyright © 2011 by ASME


Reverse engineering (extracting information about a product from the product itself) is a competitive strategy for many firms and is often costly to innovators. Recent research has proven metrics for estimating the reverse engineering time and barrier and has shown that products can strategically be made more difficult to reverse engineer, thus protecting the innovator. Reverse engineering, however, is only the first phase of attempting to duplicate a product. Imitating — the process of discovering how to physically reproduce the performance of the reverse engineered product in one or more of its performance areas — is the second and final phase. This paper presents metrics for the time and barrier to imitating and shows how they can be joined with reverse engineering metrics to estimate a total time and total barrier to duplicate a product. As there is a cost associated with the design of barriers to reverse engineering and imitating it is important that a return on investment analysis be performed to ensure a profitable endeavor. Details of such an analysis are presented here.

Copyright © 2011 by ASME



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