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

Margaret Rouse 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 explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…