Topographies of Semiconductor Products

– Colombian Layout Design for Integrated Circuits is regulated by Decision 486 of the Andean Community (Cartagena Agreement), in force since December 1, 2000.
– Resolution 210 of January 15, 2001, from the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce of Colombia.
– License agreements involving layout designs are regulated by Decision 486 of the Andean Community.

Membership in International Conventions

– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since May 4, 1980.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, including trade in Counterfeit Goods, since April 30, 1995.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since September 3, 1996.
– Decisions 486 and 291 of the Andean Community (Cartagena Agreement).
– The Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents (Apostille), party since January 30, 2001.

Filing

Applicant: the designer or his legal assignee.

Definition of layout designs: the three-dimensional arrangement of the elements, expressed in any manner, at least one of them being active, and interconnections of an integrated circuit, as well as such three-dimensional arrangement prepared for an integrated circuit to be manufactured.

Novelty: a layout design constituted by one element or a combination of elements shall be deemed novel when resulting from intellectual effort of its creator and such element or combination of elements not being common in the industrial sector of integrated circuits.

Filing requirements:
1. Power of attorney from inventor or assignee. A general power of attorney is valid for all patent applications to be filed on behalf of the same party, oppositions, trademark registrations, utility models or design cases. Powers of attorney must contain faculty for representing the grantor in court and out of it, and to appoint attorneys. If the applicant is a company or corporation, the power of attorney must contain a certificate as to its actual legal existence and functioning and of corporate powers of the officer who signs the power;
2. As the case may be, a declaration indicating the date of the first commercial exploitation of the integrated circuit anywhere;
3. A copy or a drawing of the integrated circuit layout design and, when the integrated circuit has been commercially exploited, a sample of such integrated circuit;
4. As the case may be, a declaration indicating the year when the integrated circuit was created;
5. A copy of every application for registration of the layout design or any other protection certificate that would have been filed or obtained abroad by the same applicant or its successor, and which refers in whole or in part to the same layout design;
6. A description defining the electronic function to be performed by the integrated circuit that incorporates the layout design.

Electronic filing: is available with 5% reduction of the filing fee.

Examination

Examination and publication: once the application is filed, the Patent Office will examine, the purpose of the application to ascertain whether or not it constitutes a layout design according to the definition, if the application fulfills the filing requirements, and, if it is the case, order its publication, otherwise, the applicant will be given a three-month term to complete or amend the application. Non-compliance with the above requirements within the term will place the application abandoned. The Patent Office will not, ex officio, examine the originality of the layout design, except when a grounded opposition is filed.

Opposition: by any interested third party within sixty working days as from publication date; reply by the applicant within sixty days as from being notified.

Duration: ten years as from the earliest of the following dates: (a) the last day of the year during which the first commercial exploitation occurs anywhere; (b) the filing date of the application.

Term to file valid application: (1) two years as from the date of the first commercial exploitation of the layout design; (2) if not being commercially exploited, then fifteen years as from the last day of the year when the layout design was created.

Protection

Legal effect: the registration confers to its proprietor the right to prevent third parties to reproduce, commercialize, import, offer for sale, sell or distribute in any manner the integrated circuit incorporating the layout design or an article where the protected integrated circuit is embodied.

A contractual license can be agreed on pending applications or granted patents, and must be in writing, approved and registered with the Patent Office.

A compulsory license can be requested by any third party if a patent is non-exploited within four years of filing, or three years from grant, and if at the time of the third party’s request, the following situations have occurred: (1) lack or insufficiency of industrial production of the invention; (2) if the exploitation does not reasonably satisfy the national demand as to quality or price; (3) the exploitation of the patent has been suspended for more than one year unless there is a legitimate excuse; (4) for reasons of public interest, emergency or national security; (5) to ensure free competition and to prevent abuses of dominant positions in the market; or (6) if no contractual licenses have been granted on reasonable conditions to satisfy the mentioned demand by prospective licensee.

Exploitation: is the permanent use of the patented processes or manufacture of the patented product in Colombia in order to meet the demand under reasonable merchandising conditions. Compulsory licenses are granted by the Patent Office and can be revised in court. Compulsory licenses can be requested ex officio by the Attorney General when the patent concerns health or economic development, or if the products are not available in sufficient quantity or quality, or if its prices are excessive. The licenses are granted by the Patent Office, but royalties are fixed by the court.

Infringement: relief is granted by the courts in the form of injunctions with bond to guarantee the discontinuance of the infringing acts; an embargo on the infringing goods, and on its advertising, or on the machinery for its manufacture; or any other similar measures. Damages can be requested independently of the injunction.

Modification of Protection after Granting

Nullification: the Patent Office shall decree, ex officio, or at the request of any interested person and at any time, the absolute nullity of the registration of a layout design, whenever: (1) the purpose of the registration does not constitute a layout design according to the definition; (2) the registration does not comply with originality; (3) the registration was granted for a layout design application filed after any of the law terms; (4) the reasons for nullity set in Colombian internal law for administrative acts.