Circuits Layout

– Circuit Layouts Act 1989 (commencing October 1, 1990), as amended by the Statute Law Revision Act 2012, effective from September 22, 2012.

Eligible Layouts

Filing: not required; eligible layouts are automatically protected. 

Eligible Layout (EL): original circuit layout made by a national of, or first commercially exploited in, Australia or an eligible foreign country.

Circuit layout: a plan comprising a two-dimensional representation, fixed in any material form, of the three-dimensional location of the active and passive elements and interconnections making up an integrated circuit.

Eligible foreign countries: Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Eire, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

Eligible Layouts Rights

Nature of rights: exclusive rights to copy the layout, directly or indirectly in a material form; to make an integrated circuit in accordance with the layout or a copy of the layout; and to exploit the layout commercially in Australia. 

Owner of rights: maker of the eligible layout, unless an agreement altering ownership is made, but an employee becomes owner where an eligible layout is made by an employee under a contract of service or apprenticeship. 

Duration of EL rights: ten calendar years after the year in which the layout was made, but if the layout is first exploited during that period, the duration of EL rights is ten calendar years after the year in which the layout was first commercially exploited.

Marking

Innocent infringers: EL rights are not infringed by a person who could not reasonably be expected to have known that EL rights subsisted in the layout.

Marking: is prima facie evidence that any person dealing with a layout has notice of EL rights in that layout. 

Prescribed label: affixed to layout or integrated circuit made according to layout, specifying that EL rights subsist in the layout, the country and year in which the layout was first commercially exploited, and the maker of the layout.