Reverse Engineering, Learning, and Innovation

Posted: 25 Jan 2012

Date Written: October 27, 2010

Abstract

This background reading looks at reverse engineering in the context of piracy and knock-offs in emerging markets like China. It first considers legal aspects of reverse engineering in strong property rights regimes like the United States as a way of unpacking the legal issues. It considers the importance of tacit or unexposed knowledge, and whether modularizing a system facilitates the recovery of design intent. Finally we look at the role of reverse engineering in the development of capabilities and how it enhances a firm's absorptive capabilities. It is intended to be used as a background reading for the case "From Imitation to Innovation: Zongshen Industrial Group," HBS No. 610-057.

Learning Objective: Support the teaching of "From Imitation to Innovation: Zongshen Industrial Group," HBS No. 610-057.

Suggested Citation

Shih, Willy, Reverse Engineering, Learning, and Innovation (October 27, 2010). Harvard Business School Technology & Operations Mgt. Unit case no. 611-039, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1991898

Willy Shih (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States

HOME PAGE: http://drfd.hbs.edu/fit/public/facultyInfo.do?facInfo=bio&facEmId=wshih

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