Clean Room Design

What Does Clean Room Design Mean?

Clean room design is a reverse engineering and cloning technique that captures copyrighted and patented processes for reconstruction.


Clean room design implementation provides a buffer against intellectual property infringement allegations via the clean room environment model specification, which implies that developers do not have access to competing intellectual property.

Clean room design may also be called a Chinese wall.

Techopedia Explains Clean Room Design

Clean room separates reverse engineering and development teams to create a clean technology environment. Small competitors with budget limitations or lacking innovation may use clean room design to compete with large product and technology enterprise counterparts.

In 1982, Columbia Data Products released the MPC 1600 – the first clone of IBM’s basic input/output system (BIOS) – using the clean room design technique. Another example is the Laser 128 by Video Technology Ltd. (VTech), which cloned the Apple IIc and managed to avoid litigation because the reverse engineering VTech used to copy Apple’s technology was not found to violate Apple’s patents or copyrights.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.