Suppose we have some equipment made by a manufacturer that digitally records and measures some data and communicates it with a PC. They haven't provided any documentation on the protocols it uses for communicating this data with the PC nor does it seem that they intend to ever.
Now, we have been able to figure out the sequence of bytes through reverse engineering and have been considering producing some equipment that augments the data by performing calculations and sending control sequences back to the initial equipment.
The protocols are proprietary with regards to them being developed by company X for the purpose of operating company X's machinery via PCs running proprietary software.
Can our idea be brought to market as add-ons to company X's equipment without infringing on anybody's patents or intellectual rights?