In the context of software, reverse engineering includes, but is not limited to: access and copy of software as a means of subsequently creating a similar, often derivative product. Less certain is whether the term encapsulates only analysis and examination of the source code, irrespective of whether the purpose of such analysis and examination ultimately remains the same. In October 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held, to the disappointment of several amici that submitted briefs on defendant’s behalf, that at least with respect to the governing software license “reverse engineering” as defined in the relevant license was not limited to accessing and copying software, as such a narrow interpretation would render other provisions of the license superfluous.
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