A layout-design of an integrated circuit refers essentially to the three-dimensional character of the elements and interconnections of an integrated circuit.
An integrated circuit (IC) is an electronic circuit in which the elements of the circuit are integrated into a medium, and which functions as a unit. Currently the medium used to create this unit is a solid semiconductor such as silicon. The circuit is integrated into the piece of silicon, commonly called a "chip" or a "silicon chip". The terms "integrated circuit", "semiconductor" and "silicon chip" are used synonymously as commercial ICs are usually fabricated from silicon semiconductors.
Protection for a layout-design of an IC
It is not necessary to file an application to protect the layout–design or deposit the layout-design with IPOS. A citizen or resident of Singapore, or a country which is a member of the World Trade Organization, or a country designated by the Singapore Government as a qualifying country, who owns a layout-design, can gain automatic protection for the layout-design if it qualifies for protection under Singapore law.
In Singapore, an original layout-design of an IC can be protected under the Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Act (Cap.159A). An original layout-design is one which is both the result of the creator's own intellectual effort, and which is not commonplace among creators of layout-designs and manufacturers of ICs at the time of its creation.
Any IC that has been created after 15 February 1999 will be protected for 10 years if it is first used commercially within five years of creation. In other cases, it will be protected for 15 years from the date of its creation.
Rights and remedies
Under the Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Act, the owner has the right to prevent the copying and commercial exploitation of an original layout-design of an IC.
The owner can exercise his rights under the Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Act by taking legal action against the infringing party.