The purpose of this note is to question whether the SCPA reverse engineering exception adequately protects the rights of chip owners while allowing competitors to develop compatible products. This note concludes that the SCPA reverse engineering exception falls short of providing meaningful protection. The note also concludes that a "value-added" approach to the reverse engineering exception is superior to the existing approach (which is too closely allied with copyright law and fosters lengthy and expensive litigation). Part III is a discussion of the practice of reverse engineering in general and under the SCPA. Part IV, using Atari v. Nintendo as a factual basis, analyzes reverse engineering in the compatible computer products industry. Subsection A of Part IV reviews the facts of Atari v. Nintendo, and Subsection B analyzes the decision which was argued and decided under copyright law. Subsection C of Part IV analyzes the Atari v. Nintendo fact situation under the SCPA reverse engineering exception. Part V reviews a proposed alternative to the existing SCPA and applies the alternative to the Atari v. Nintendo fact situation.
Kathryn A. Fugere,
Reverse Engineering Under the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act: An Argument in Favor of a "Value-Added" Approach, 22 Golden Gate U. L. Rev.