# protecting circuit design

R

#### Rob

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!

K

#### Kevin Aylward

Jan 1, 1970
0
Rob said:
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.

There isn't one.

Kevin Aylward
[email protected]
http://www.anasoft.co.uk
SuperSpice, a very affordable Mixed-Mode
Windows Simulator with Schematic Capture,
Waveform Display, FFT's and Filter Design.

C

#### CWatters

Jan 1, 1970
0
If it's a simple circuit you can only really hope to slow dow the process of
discovery.

M

#### Mjolinor

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!

Options

1) Lock it in a cupboard and show it no one, very effective from a copying
point of view but it's hard to make money using this method.

2) Put it in an ASIC, very expensive and still copiable but expensive to
copy.

3) Remove all identifying marks from all components. Make all PCB tracks as
thin, convoluted and weak as you can then pot the lot in the stickiest
hardest smelliest compound you can find. Wants to be rock hard at room
temperature but emit copious quantitious of acrid smoke when heated and be
totally un-removable from clothes and skin once it's on there. Make it on
two PCBs that are components together when assembled so that the chances are
they break when people try to get the resin off. and the PCBs apart.

That is coming from someone who will try to mend anything that's broken.
Those points are the ones that make my heart sink when I am trying to get at
the bloody things.

F

#### Frank Pickens

Jan 1, 1970
0
It can't be done. It is not necessary to copy the electronics exactly.
Once the function of the device is apparent it would be easy to
duplicate the functionality of it.

F

#### Frank Pickens

Jan 1, 1970
0
It can't be done. It is not necessary to copy the electronics exactly.
Once the function of the device is apparent it would be easy to
duplicate the functionality of it.

H

#### Harry Bloomfield

Jan 1, 1970
0
|
| I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
| mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
| produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
| would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
|
|

Depending upon which country you are in, copyright is usually automatic
and not need to actually claim it. Some countries suggests the item be
marked up with a copyright sign and perhaps your company name. If
additional protection is needed, some manufacturers scrub off the
numbers from the IC's and transistors, others pot the whole PCB.

--
Regards,
Harry (M1BYT)...

M

#### mike

Jan 1, 1970
0
Rob said:
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!

Tell us what it does. Most "bright ideas" are obvious to at least one
someone else.
At lest most of mine were/are...glad I didn't spend any money on 'em.

Sanding the label off the ICs will protect you from the casual copier
who would have made two more in his garage. If the idea is a good one
(BIG BUX) your nemisis will figure it out in a new york minute. Then
he'll out manufacture, out advertise, out distribute you. You did
say simple...

The best way is to sell the idea to someone with the legal muscle
to defend a patent.
mike

--
Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below.
laptops and parts Test Equipment
4in/400Wout ham linear amp.
Honda CB-125S
400cc Dirt Bike 2003 miles $550 Police Scanner, Color LCD overhead projector Tek 2465$800, ham radio, 30pS pulser
Tektronix Concept Books, spot welding head...
http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Monitor/4710/

S

#### Spehro Pefhany

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!

If the circuitry is simple, there's no real protection possible.
Copyrights will only protect the exact layout, and a competitor could
easily implement the same circuit a bit differently. Incorporating
microcontrollers, PLDs and such like can slow a copier down,
especially if there are hidden algorithms, but if it's really simple
your best protection is selling a reliable product at a fair price and

I wouldn't advise potting, sanding off chip numbers, etc. in general,
and the product is easy to copy. Occasionally, we've removed the chip
number from one chip and hidden it so it isn't obvious when we've done
something special to reduce the cost, but that sort of thing only
slows down the garage copiers. Those are also the ones that would tend
to exactly copy your product, IME, the more capable ones will just
engineer something similar from scratch.

Actually, if you can raise the stakes on packaging you can increase
the barrier to entry signficantly- more than from the circuitry. It's
one thing to lay out a board and have a few hundred made up, quite
another to shell out for plastic injection mold tooling.

Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany

G

#### George R. Gonzalez

Jan 1, 1970
0
Rob said:
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem.

We may be able to allay your fears.

What does it do? Surely this can't be a secret.

Tell us what it does and we'll put all these brains to work.

I suspect a person or two out there may be able to come up
with a similar solution, then you don't have to worry about

R

#### R.Legg

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!

Do it first.
Do it best.
Do it again.

RL

F

#### Fred

Jan 1, 1970
0
Rob said:
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!

I recall a dongle many years ago for some software which I think was for
board maker. They had used a number of wires which were loop in such a way
that they touched the lid. The put what looked like potting compound on the
lid such that when you prised it apart you ripped the wires from the PCB.

Another technique used to stop the re-use of software was putting the
program in a battery backed memory. Naturally if you should loose the power
to the SRAM you lost the prog as well.

If there is any digital stuff - put it in a CPLD.

Don't know if this will help.

J

#### John Larkin

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!

If the problem is widespread and the solution is simple, there must be
money to be made. So the key here is not technology, but marketing and
distribution channel access. Whoever is best at that will win. If all
you have is the circuit, and you don't have the sales connections, and
the idea's not patentable and defensable, somebody else will probably
win.

John

F

#### Frithiof Andreas Jensen

Jan 1, 1970
0
I would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.

Patent It - it will still be copied but then you may get some legal
redress - eventually...

N

#### Neil

Jan 1, 1970
0
As an inventor, one really realises that no matter what you do.....even
copywriting, will stop the copying of a really good idea.
All you can do is produce it faster, get it out to market first, then make
it better, and cheaper than anyone else.
Kim

D

#### Detector195

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!

If it is not an earth shattering idea, you are safe simply because
nobody will bother. I sell a device whose design is published in
detail on the Web. So far nobody else has tried to market my design.
One college kid turned it in as a student project and got caught
plagiarizing.

If it is an earth shattering idea, like the others have said, nothing
is safe.

There is a middle ground where you are protected by your up front
investment and having a head start. Anybody who copies you will have
to match your up front costs, but with a smaller total market to
recoup those costs.

And yet another idea, use the product as part of a service that you
offer. Then the fact that you have a clever circuit may never become
of "dongle" for some other kind of product or service.

S

#### Steve

Jan 1, 1970
0
Frithiof Andreas Jensen said:
Patent It - it will still be copied but then you may get some legal
redress - eventually...

....if its worth sinking a fortune into lawyers etc!

I have a "Prunes And Custard" guitar effects pedal that has a VERY
hard white goop over most of the circuit board. Trying to remove this
would more than likely cause damage to components and the board. I'm
not about to try as this pedal cost me a lot of moolah!

nifty

S

#### Stepan Novotill

Jan 1, 1970
0
On 18 Sep 2003 20:06:50 -0700, [email protected] (Detector195)
wrote:

To give you an idea:

I once drew out a scnhematic for a circuit board with approx 40
(fourty) CMOS chips, all with the numbers erased. I could guess what
most of them were by looking at the interconnects and which signals
were inputs, and which were outputs. The rest I verified on a working
board with a two channel scope.

I have removed epoxy and other coatings from circuit boards and
ceramic hybrids by using ordinary methyl hydrate in a pressure cooker.
(This takes a week, outdoors in good ventilation under mild heat!)

I have drawn out schematics of ceramic hybrids by desoldering the chip
components and lookin at the raw chips under a microscope, measuring
the resistors.

There are millions of people like me on this planet. All it takes is
the motivation to do it. My motivation was not even strong; simple
curiosity !

The only thing that might work reasonably well for you, is if you
obfuscate the design by adding all kinds of extra complexity and extra
components on a multilayer board, and then encase it in some special
high temperature resin. This will frustrate the spies, and they will
simply re-design the circuit instead of copying it.

.....Stepan

K

#### Kevin Aylward

Jan 1, 1970
0
Rob said:
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!

My second one.

Engineering is not physics, so there is nothing new in engineering. If
you have a product with a neat "new" feature, it makes no difference at
all what the actual circuit is. Any engineer worth his salt will be able
to redesign your "simple" circuit, based only on its features, before
you can sup that pint of Guinness.

Kevin Aylward
[email protected]
http://www.anasoft.co.uk
SuperSpice, a very affordable Mixed-Mode
Windows Simulator with Schematic Capture,
Waveform Display, FFT's and Filter Design.

A

#### Active8

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have designed a simple circuitry to resolve a problem. I want to
mass produce it as a product for sale. However, I do not want to
produce it on an unprotected PCB board for fear of being copied. I
would like to hear your opinion about what might be the solution.
Thanks!
as i told the last guy that asked this:

the only protection you have is to be the best at what you're doing.
i'll add to that - and hope to get the bear's share of the market.

being first to market is a bonus if you can gain satisfied customers and
momentum.

good luck.
mike

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Bud--
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