LAYOUT DESIGN

LAYOUT DESIGNS OF INTEGRATED CIRCUITS

With the fast growing information technology in India, there is a new field of intellectual property called the Layout Design or semiconductor integrated circuits. The semi conductor integrated circuit is an integral part of every computer chip.

In compliance with the TRIPs Agreement, India has enacted the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Designs Act, 2000 in order to provide protection to layout designs of integrated circuits. The Act defines "Layout Design" to mean a layout of transistors and other circuitry elements and includes lead wires connecting such elements and expressed in any manner in a semiconductor integrated circuit.

REGISTRABILITY OF LAYOUT DESIGNS

It is mandatory to register a layout design in India to claim protection. A layout design cannot be registered if :

  • It is not original
  • It has been commercially exploited in India or in a convention country
  • It is not inherently distinctive or distinguishable from any other registered Layout Design.

TERM OF PROTECTION

The term of protection of layout design is 10 years from the date of filing of the application or commercial exploitation in any country, whichever is earlier.

INFRINGEMENT OF LAYOUT DESIGN

Infringement of a layout design is a criminal offence in India. In addition to civil remedies, infringement of a layout design has been made punishable under the Indian law with imprisonment of up to three years or fine of Rs 50,000 up to maximum of Rs 10,00,000 or with both.