REVERSE ENGINEERING: Reconciling Trade Secret Law with 3D Printing and Scanning

A note by Prateek Viswanathan

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This Note proposes requiring competitors to sell original products if they reverse engineer competing products with 3D scanning and printing. This proposal would mitigate market destructive effects by providing first inventors lead time to recoup R&D expenses.  Part II of this Note provides background on 3D printing and scanning, Illinois’s trade secrecy law, and reverse engineering. Part III analyzes how 3D printing and scanning may make reverse engineering market destructive and stress the patent system. Part IV proposes a localized solution by amending Illinois’s statute to require originality in competing products.