Yes – reverse-engineering patented products is a fantastic way to learn how innovative products are formulated so that you can reformulate them at a more affordable price point or improve the overall formula. It is also a way for the market to ensure that products continually improve and pricing continues to become more accessible to consumers.
However, patent law is extremely complicated – there are many types of patents that product manufacturers need to keep track of and the stipulations within each type of patent can be very complex or even indecipherable. A careful review of the patent landscape needs to be performed prior to reverse engineering a product and subsequent, reformulation to ensure no patents are infringed.
Despite the troubles of patent law, deformulating competitors’ products is still a legal way to gain insight into how those products and manufacturing methods are unique.
Reformulating the Legal Way
Although analyzing a product does not violate any kind of patent law, rebuilding a product in the same manner and with the same or highly similar formulation as a patented product could lead to potential litigation.
Patents may be very specific, but they can also be broad enough to protect the intellectual property of a product inventor or designer. This means that, often, creative processes and ideas behind products also receive protection from patents. For cases in which particular ingredients or construction methods are one-of-a-kind, it can be a challenge to improve upon a product or rebuild it for less money.
However, expert chemists who work closely with companies who wish to deformulate or reverse engineer a product and recreate products know subtle ways to reengineer products in a way that doesn’t infringe on existing or pending patents. By using data procured from the deformulation process, it’s possible to:
- Find components that mimic the properties of patented component combinations.
- Replace them in a new and unique formula.
The result is, most commonly, a product that resembles the effect or function of an existing product without infringing on the intellectual property of the patent holder.
Keep Goods Moving Forward
Steering clear of patent infringement is a challenge, but the result is the continued progress of accessibility and quality for commercial products, medicine, food, health & beauty, pest control, and every other industry and niche that allows us to live happily and comfortably.
Save yourself the trouble, time, and wasted resources; hire experienced chemists to deformulate a quality product and find a legal, cost effective, and ethical way to reformulate the product so you can be a part of the engine of progress and ultimately profit from it.