Proprietary hardware

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by jamus, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. jamus

    Thread Starter Active Member

    Feb 11, 2013
    Would it be legal to sell a product that interfaces to proprietary hardware (scientific instruments etc)?

    The connector I am trying to interface to is listed in the manual as being 'proprietary' (not in connector type, just non standard in pinout).
  2. sirch2

    Senior Member

    Jan 21, 2013
    You might be in breach of a patent or registered design but that would seem unlikely if it is a standard connector.
  3. crutschow


    Mar 14, 2008
    I'm no expert on the legal aspects, but it would seem that if the connector is available to the outside world then it would be legal to connect to it. It may however, invalidate the warranty for the instrument you are connecting to. You would have to look at the warranty to see if there are any such limitations.
  4. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
    It should be legal to make a product that plugs into an external connector on someone else's product and interfaces with it.

    I think they would have a very hard time trying to sue you over that. Although they might try to bluff you.
  5. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    I am quite sure what you want to do will fell under the term "reverse engineering" and "interoperability" See this site and serch for interoperability In short you are allowed to do want want to do.
    You can also look at this search
  6. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
    You should buy their 'proprietary' connector and use that for insurance against legal claims.

    AFTER THAT. Anything the companies salable product provides to the 'end user' in the form of 'output' is yours to do with as you see fit.

    This was settled many years ago in the court under a dispute with satellite content providers and a single individual who was 'decrypting' their broadcast contents and watching the shows. He had built and programmed the equipment himself.

    It was decided that, since the signal was falling from the sky onto his dish receiver, he could utilize that copyrighted content anyway he wanted to.

    It was also decided that he could not profit from the broadcasters encrypted signal by providing the decoding device he built to other people in the form of a gift or as a product offered for sale.

    If you want to profit from your device.

    If it is not going to be for your own personal use but provided to others.

    Then you could encounter problems. Infringement issues are individual. So many factors can become involved and existing case law for similar issues is very shallow in the electronic data exchange category.

    Details are the devil in all this.

    Perhaps, (oh, it hurts to say this word) a Lawyer should be consulted.
  7. wayneh


    Sep 9, 2010
    It's worth noting that, even if you stray into a patent's claim area, your activity is not "illegal". It would be a civil suit issue, not a criminal one. You risk being asked to stop, and being asked for a share of any profits you might have made by infringing. It's only if/when you refuse to comply that things heat up and potentially go to court.