LAYOUT-DESIGNS OF INTEGRATED CIRCUITS
The Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Act, No. 18 of 2005 became operational on July 8 2009.
What Are Layout Designs Of Integrated Circuits?
An Integrated Circuit means a product, in its final form or an intermediate form, in which the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and some or all of the interconnections, are integrally formed in or on a piece of material, or both, and which is intended to perform an electronic function.
A layout-design is synonymous with topography and means the three dimensional disposition, however expressed of the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and of some or all of the inter-connections of an integrated circuit, or such a three- dimensional disposition prepared for an integrated circuit intended for manufacture.
Q. What Conditions Must Be Satisfied For Registration Of An Industrial Design?
A. Protection for the lay-out design of an integrated circuit may be granted if
- it is original
- has not been commercially exploited, or
- has been commercially exploited for not more than 2 years anywhere in the world at the date of receipt of the application >/p>. What is an application required to contain?
A. An application for the registration of a layout design must contain the following:
- A Request
- A brief and precise designation of the layout design
- Name, address and nationality of the applicant
- The date of first commercial exploitation of the layout design anywhere in the world or indicate that exploitation has not commenced
- Provide particulars establishing the right of the creator to protection
The application must also be accompanied by a copy or drawing of the layout design together with information defining the electronic function which the integrated circuit is intended to perform.
Q. What Rights Are Conferred By Registration Of A Layout Design?
Protection of a lay-out design prohibits the unauthorized reproduction, importation, sale, or distribution for commercial purposes of the protected design. Protection does not apply however, if the reproduction of a protected design is for private purposes or for the sole purpose of evaluation, analysis, research or teaching.
Q. What Remedies Are Available For The Infringement Of Layout-Designs Of Integrated Circuits?
The following remedies are available:
On the request of the owner of a registered layout-design or his licensee, the Court may grant an injunction to prevent infringement or an imminent infringement; award damages or grant any other relief provided for in general law.
Any person who contravenes the exclusive rights set out in s. 6 commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of Five Thousand Eastern Caribbean Dollars (XCD5,000.00) or to imprisonment for 3 years:s.15(1). In addition to the prescribed fine and term of imprisonment, the Court may order the seizure, forfeiture and destruction of the lay-out design, integrated circuit or articles concerned and of any material or implement, predominantly used to commit an offence:s.15(2).
Q. Are There Any Exceptions To The Infringement Of A Registered Layout Design?
Protection does not apply in the following circumstances:
- Where the layout design is reproduced for private purposes or for the sole purpose of evaluation, analysis, research or teaching
- The incorporation of a layout design in an integrated circuit which was created as a result of analysis or evaluation
- Importing, selling or otherwise distributing for commercial purposes a layout design that has been put on the market by or with the consent of the right holder
- Importing, selling or otherwise distributing for commercial purposes where the person did not know and had no reasonable ground to know that the integrated circuit or article containing the integrated circuit, incorporated an unlawfully reproduced layout design, However, if the person receives notice that the layout design was unlawfully reproduced he may only perform the above mentioned acts in relation to stock on hand or stock ordered before he received such notice and shall pay the right holder reasonable royalty such as may be negotiated under a voluntary licence agreement between the parties.
- Importing, selling or otherwise distributing for commercial purposes in respect of an identical layout design which is original and has been created independently by a third party.
Q. What Is The Term Of Protection For A Registered Layout Design?
The term of protection for a registered layout design is 10 years from the date of commencement of protection.