Topographies of Semiconductor Products

– Law of December 17, 1998, with amendments as of May 17, 2011.

Filing and Examination

Applicant: any individual or legal entity.

Receiving Office: National Center of Intellectual Property (NCIP).

Foreigners: may act through registered patent attorneys; they enjoy the same rights as nationals.

Definition: topography means the spatial geometric layout of all elements constituting an integrated circuit and their interconnections fixed on a physical medium; integrated circuit means a microelectronic product in its final or intermediate form intended to perform the functions of an electronic circuit, of which the elements and interconnections constitute an integral part of the body and/or of the surface of a body of material acting as the basis for manufacturing the product.

Originality: a topography of an integrated circuit is ingenious if its essential features arise from the creativity of the author. If the entirety of the elements of a topography of an integrated circuit was known to the author(s) on the day of its creation, protection shall not be granted.

Conditions for filing: an application for a topography should be filed within two years from its first use; one application should cover only one topography or variants of one topography.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to resident agent):
1. The application must contain a declaration as stipulated by the NCIP, identifying a specimen of the topography;
2. A general assembly drawing;
3. Photo masks or photos of layers;
4. A fee payment document.

Examination: only formal.

Amendment of application: possible up to the publication.

Publication: in the Official Gazette of the NCIP.

Protection

Right to protection: belongs to the author of the topography, or his assignee.

Employee’s topography: if a topography is created by one or several employees in the process of executing their functions, all rights belong to the employer, unless otherwise stipulated. Duration: ten years from the earliest date, or from the day of the first use, if this use is evidenced in a document or from the day of registration.

Assignment: the full assignment should be registered at the NCIP.

Disputes and infringement: are judged by the Supreme Patent Chamber Court.