Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act, 2000
The Government of India, having ratified the TRIPS made provisions for giving effect to section 6 in Part II of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights relating to Layout-Design (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits by enacting the Act to provide for the protection of semiconductor integrated circuits layout-designs and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
‘semiconductor integrated circuit’ means a product having transistors and other circuitry elements which are inseparably formed on a semiconductor material or an insulating material or inside the semiconductor material and designed to perform an electronic circuitry function.
‘layout-design’ means 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.
Prohibition of registration of certain layout-designs –
A layout-design shall not be registered-
- which is not original; or
- which has been commercially exploited anywhere in India or in a convention country; or
- which is not inherently distinctive; or
- which is not inherently capable of being distinguishable from any other registered layout-design, shall not be registered as a layout-design: Provided that a layout-design which has been commercially exploited for not more than two years from the date on which an application for its registration has been filed either in India or in a convention the purposes of this sub-section. country shall be treated as not having been commercially exploited for.
‘commercial exploitation’, in relation to Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design, means to sell, lease, offer or exhibit for sale or otherwise distribute such semiconductor integrated circuit for any commercial purpose.
A layout-design shall be considered to be original if it is the result of its creator’s own intellectual efforts and is not commonly known to the creators of layout-designs and manufacturers of semiconductor integrated circuits at the time of its creation: Provided that a layout-design consisting of such combination of elements and interconnections that are commonly known among creators of layout-designs and manufacturers of semiconductor integrated circuits shall be considered as original if such combination taken as a whole is the result of its creator’s own intellectual efforts.
Where an original layout-design has been created in execution of a commission or a contract of employment, the right of registration to such layout-design under this Act shall belong, in the absence of any contractual provision to the contrary, to the person who commissioned the work or to the employer.
Application for registration:
Any person claiming to be the creator of a layout-design, who is desirous of registering it, shall apply in writing to the Registrar for the registration of his layout-design. Such application shall be filed in the office of the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Registry within whose territorial limits the principal place of business in India of the applicant or in the case of joint application the principal place of business in India of the applicant whose name is first mentioned in the application, as having a place of business in India, is situate.
When an application for registration of a layout-design has been accepted, the Registrar shall, within fourteen days after the date of acceptance, cause the application as accepted to be advertised.
Opposition to registration – Any person may, within three months from the date of the advertisement give notice in writing in the prescribed manner to the Registrar of opposition to the registration. The Registrar shall, after hearing the parties, if so required, and considering the evidence, decide, after taking into account any ground of objection whether relied upon by the opponent or not.
Registration – When an application for the registration of the layout-design has been accepted and either- (a) the application has not been opposed and time for notice of opposition has expired; or (b) the application has been opposed and the opposition has been decided in favour of the applicant, the Registrar shall register the said layout-design in the register and the layout-design shall be registered as of the date of the making of the said application and that date shall be deemed to be the date of registration.
The Registrar shall then issue to the applicant a certificate in the prescribed form of the registration thereof sealed with the seal of the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Registry.
Duration of registration-
The registration of a layout-design shall be for a period of ten years counted from the date of filing an application for registration or from the date of first commercial exploitation anywhere in India or in any country whichever is earlier.
Rights conferred by registration-
The registration of a layout-design shall, if valid, give to the registered proprietor of layout-design the exclusive right to the use of the layout-design and to obtain relief in respect of infringement in the manner provided by the Act. The rights will be available irrespective of the fact as to whether the layout-design is incorporated in an article or not.
Assignability and transmissibility of registered layout-design- A registered layout-design shall be assignable and transmissible whether with or without the goodwill of the business concerned.
Registration as registered user – Where it is proposed that a person should be registered as a registered user of a layout-design, the registered proprietor and the proposed registered user shall jointly apply in writing to the Registrar in the prescribed manner.
Establishment of Layout-Design Appellate Board –
The Central Government shall, by notification in the Official Gazette, establish an Appellate Board to be known as the Layout-Design Appellate Board to exercise the jurisdiction, powers and authority conferred on it by or under this Act.
Any person aggrieved by an order or decision of the Registrar under this Act, or the rules made thereunder may prefer an appeal to the Appellate Board within three months.
Any person aggrieved by any decision or order of the Appellate Board may, within the prescribed period appeal to the High Court.
With a view to the fulfillment of a treaty, convention or arrangement with any country outside India which affords to citizens of India similar privileges as granted to its own citizens, the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify such country to be a convention country for providing the citizens of such convention country the similar privileges as granted to the citizens of India under this Act.
Provision as to reciprocity.-Where any country specified by the Central Government in this behalf by notification in the Official Gazette does not accord to citizens of India the same rights in respect of registration and protection of layout-design as it accords to its own nationals, no national of such country shall be entitled, either solely or jointly with any other person,- (a) to apply for the registration of, or be registered as the proprietor of, a layout-design; (b) to be registered as the assignee of the proprietor of a registered layout-design; or (c) to apply for registration or be registered as a registered user of a layout-design.