Layout Designs of Integrated Circuits

– Circuit Layouts Act (No. 51 of 2000), commenced February 8, 2011.

Eligible Layouts

Filing: not required; eligible layouts are automatically protected.

Eligible Layout (EL): an original circuit layout whose maker was an eligible person when the layout was made or that was first commercially exploited in Vanuatu or in an eligible foreign country.

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

Novelty: a circuit layout is not original if it involved no creative contribution by the maker or if it was commonplace at the time it was made.

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 Vanuatu.

Owner of rights: maker of the eligible layout. If made by a person under the terms of their employment by another person, that other person is the owner, subject to exclusion or modification by agreement.

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


Innocent infringers: EL rights are not infringed by a person who did not know, and could not reasonably be expected to have known that the circuit was unauthorized.

Marking: is prima facie evidence that any person dealing then or later with that layout has been notified that EL rights subsist in the layout.

Prescribed label: clearly affixed to layout, a copy of the layout or integrated circuit made in accordance to layout, or the package containing it or the article in which the integrated circuit is incorporated, specifying that EL rights subsist in the layout, and states the maker, the country and year in which the layout was first commercially exploited.