Reverse Engineering Proves its Worth in Verifying Patent Infringement on Printed Circuit Boards

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Armistead Technologies, a firm specializing in the reverse engineering of printed circuit boards (PCBs), has found a new niche helping companies and law firms determine whether or not intellectual property rights have been infringed.

The billion-dollar verdict in the ongoing legal battle between Apple and Samsung has thrown a spotlight on the massive value of intellectual property (IP) such as patents. But, with stakes that high, the challenges of protecting intellectual assets are just as big.

One of the biggest challenges lies in determining whether or not IP infringement has taken place – devices that have similar functionality may operate in very different ways – and, if so, the extent of that infringement. That requires reverse-engineering the printed circuit boards (PCBs) that are the “brains” of any electronic device. Only then can a company's legal team know whether a device is engineered so similarly as to infringe on a patent.

PCBs have grown increasingly complex, with advanced technologies like BGAs (ball grid arrays) and software built right into the circuit board. Reverse engineering such a multilayer PCB is a job that requires specialized expertise and equipment. Many companies and law firms find it most cost-effective to farm the work out to a trusted reverse engineering firm. One such firm is Armistead Technologies, based in Maryland.

“In the past 12 months, we've reversed over 100 products looking specifically for patent infringement,” says John Armistead, founder and owner of Armistead Technologies. “We provide our clients with a complete schematic, photographs, and even a bill of materials – the ammunition they need to protect their IP rights.”

“If we have the original patent information, we can even render an expert opinion as to whether or not a particular PCB design is an infringement, and why,” Armistead says. “That outside testimony may carry some weight in court.”

With billions of dollars in IP rights at stake, reverse engineering firms like Armistead's are emerging as key players in IP litigation.

For more information about reverse engineering and its role in protecting corporate intellectual property, call John Armistead at (410) 627-2408.

About Armistead Technologies, LLC.
Armistead Technologies is an engineering firm based near Baltimore, Maryland. It was founded in 1989 by John Armistead, a graduate electrical engineer from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Armistead Technologies specializes in reverse engineering printed circuit boards. It also can re-engineer older PCB designs to be compliant with updated standards and compatibilities.

For more information, visit or call John Armistead at (410) 627-2408.

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