Topographies of Semiconductor Products
– The Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits Act 1999, effective since February 15, 1999.
Definitions: a layout design of integrated circuits is protectable. Integrated circuit means a product in its final or intermediate form, in which the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and some or all of the interconnections are integrally formed in and on, or in or on, a piece of material and which is intended to perform an electronic function. A layout design means the three-dimensional disposition however expressed, of the elements of an integrated circuit (at least one of which is an active element), and some or all of the interconnections of an integrated circuit, or such a three-dimensional disposition prepared for an integrated circuit intended for manufacture.
Entitlement to protection: a layout design which is original or a layout design that consists of a combination of elements and interconnections that are common place but the combination as a whole is original.
Filing requirements: none.
Scope of protection: all independently created layout designs, even if they are identical. But it does not protect a layout design created before the commencement of this Act. It also does not confer protection against a bona fide purchaser for value without notice.
Exceptions to protection: ideas are not protected.
Duration: if it is first commercially exploited within five years after it was created, protection is for ten years from the year it was first commercially exploited, or, in any other case, at the end of the period of fifteen years after it was created.