Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits
– Intellectual Property Act, 2011.
Applicant: the creator of the layout design or his assignee or where the design was created under a commission or an employment contract, the layout design belongs to the person having commissioned the design or the employer unless a contractual provision says otherwise.
Applicants not living in the country: must be represented by a legal practitioner resident and practicing in Samoa.
Novelty: a layout design must be original and must be the result of the creator’s own intellectual effort and not commonplace among creators of layout-designs and manufacturers of integrated circuits at the time of its creation. The layout design must not have been commercially exploited for more than two years anywhere in the world.
Novelty grace period: up to two years from the date of being commercially exploited anywhere in the world.
Priority: a Convention application may be filed within twelve months of the date of the first application in a Convention country.
Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. The applicant’s name, address and nationality and details of any agents used by the applicant;
2. Each creator’s name;
3. A request for registration of the layout design and a brief description of the layout design;
4. A copy or drawing of the layout design together with information defining the electronic function which the integrated circuit is intended to perform;
5. The date of first commercial exploitation of the layout design anywhere in the world or an indication that such exploitation has not commenced;
6. A written authorization of agent;
7. If the applicant is not the creator, a statement justifying the applicant’s right to registration;
8. Prescribed fee.
Amendment of application: the Registrar may require the applicant to file a correction to the application to comply with formalities or responses to entitlement. If a correction is made, the filing date will be the date when the Registrar received the correction.
Examination: as to formalities and entitlement only.
Acceptance of application: if the Registrar is satisfied that the formalities and entitlement are met, the Registrar must register the layout design and issue a certificate of registration.
Publication: occurs upon registration. Infringement: proceedings cannot commence until registration.
Duration: protection commences on the date of first commercial exploitation anywhere in the world by or with the consent of the right holder and expires at the end of the tenth calendar year after the date of commencement of protection.
Renewal: not required.
Marking: is not compulsory.
Assignments and licenses: must be recorded with the Registrar.
Modification of Protection after Registration
Opposition: no provision.
Invalidation of design: an interested person may apply to the Supreme Court to invalidate the registration of a layout design on the grounds that it is not original, the right holder does not have entitlement, or the application was not filed within the prescribed time limit from commercial exploitation.
Infringements: a person who owns a registered layout design has the exclusive right to reproduce any part of the design, whether incorporated in an integrated circuit or otherwise, and to import, offer for sale, sell or use the design, an integrated circuit in which the design is incorporated or an article incorporating such integrated circuit. Acts done anywhere in the world with the consent of the right holder, independently created layout designs, reproduction for private purposes or solely for evaluation analysis or research or teaching will not infringe. If a layout design is infringed, action may be taken to the Supreme Court.
Remedies: an injunction, damages or any other remedy provided for in the general law.