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I'm trying to re-create the scientific calculator casio fx-570MS:

closeup_fx570ms.jpg

My app on Android will look like this:

CalculatorApp.jpg

The idea is I physically (no reverse engineering - that is no code touch, every code will be designed and written from scratch by me) observe the scientific calculator casio fx-570MS and re-create everything from scratch. I want to mimic the button layout and functions because I've used the casio fx-570MS all my youth that it has gotten into my blood. I don't know if this will violate copyright law or not, if it does, how can I get around it - e.g Can changing button order or button color & changing function order (the functions are still the same but instead of press 1 to activate, I switch to press 2) dodge the copyright law?

Update:

According to this Wikipedia page:

fx-991MS / 570MS / 115MS / 100MS / 95MS / 85MS / 350MS / 82MS (early 2000s)

So the calculator is first introduced in the early 2000s (probably between 2000 and 2004 because 2005 is mid-2000s). The pattern protection expires after 20 years so there is a big chance it's safe.

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  • Just an aside. You say no “reverse engineering”, but observing function and creating code yourself is pretty much what reverse engineering is. Not that that is a problem as you are allowed to do that.
    – Eric S
    Nov 15 at 18:17
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As an adjunct to George White's answer I did a patent search on The Lens for calculator design patents assigned to Casio. The results showed 53 hits, but none after September 27, 2006 so there should be no design patents still effective. Similarly I searched for granted patents with "calculator" in the search field assigned to Casio with a filing date after September 27, 2000 and got 174 records. This is few enough for you to look them over to see if any are relevant.

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  • +1 Thanks for the lens.org website info. So I'll need time to research about this.
    – 123iamking
    Sep 28 at 2:24
  • I don't know if I understand this right, but the patent protection expires after 20 years. So if the Casio fx-570MS is created more than 20 years ago, then I don't have to worry about the patent infringement for it, right? (currently I don't know how to search the first introduce year of Casio fx-570MS, but I think it must be older than 10 years).
    – 123iamking
    Sep 28 at 2:47
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    @123iamking I was unable to determine the introduction date of that specific calculator. Thus I did the patent search. Design patents are in force for 14 years which is why I didn't search as far back for those. You are correct that you should be able to ignore patents filed more recently than the earliest sale of the calculator.
    – Eric S
    Sep 28 at 16:16
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This site is for patent questions not copyright ones. It is conceivable but very unlikely that some operation of the calculator is patented with a utility patent (the usual kind).

More likely the graphic look of the calculator may have a design patent - like the design patents Apple has on the shape of the iPhone. If there is a design patent you would need to study it to see what changes would get out from infringing it. From the images I see that the shape and specific layout is different from the real device. That would bode well for potential design patent issues.

Since you are writing the code from scratch copyright shouldn’t be an issue but that would properly be a question for Law SE.

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  • +1, so first I know I don't have to worry about the button layout. I don't know if I understand this right, but the patent protection expires after 20 years. So if the Casio fx-570MS is created more than 20 years ago, then I don't have to worry about the patent infringement for it, right? (currently I don't know how to search the first introduce year of Casio fx-570MS, but I think it must be older than 10 years).
    – 123iamking
    Sep 28 at 2:53
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    @123iamking Design patents only last 14 years. Utility patents last 20 years from the filing date.
    – Eric S
    Sep 28 at 16:18
  • @EricS : Thank Eric, I'd like to confirm my final understanding: If the Calculator Casio FX-570MS is sold in public in 2001 or earlier (20 years ago from now), then I can do this project, which I mention in the question, without worrying about copyright/patent violation, right?
    – 123iamking
    Sep 30 at 16:17
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    @123iamking That is my understanding. I'm assuming the capabilities of the calculator haven't changed over the years or that you are recreating only the capabilities of the 2001 calculator. I am not a lawyer so this isn't legal advice. It still might be useful to review those patents Casio owns that show up in my search. A quick scan should eliminate nearly all of them.
    – Eric S
    Sep 30 at 17:09

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