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. Integrated circuits are used in a wide range of products including watches, televisions, traffic lights and computers.
Protection for a layout-design of an IC
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.
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 said layout-design if it qualifies for protection under the law in Singapore.
Any IC that has been created after 15 February 1999 (date of enactment of the Layout-Designs of Integrated Circuits Act) will be protected for a duration of 10 years if it is first used commercially within five years of creation. In any other case, 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, including seeking relief in the form of an injunction to stop the infringing action, demanding for the profits gained by the infringing party at his expense and/or, seeking damages for the loss suffered.
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