A semiconductor layout design means a layout of transistors and other circuitry elements and includes lead wires connecting such elements and expressed in any manner in semiconductor integrated circuits.
According to SICLD Act, 2000, layout-design is to be considered as original if it is the result of its creator’s 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. Any Integrated Circuit Layout Design satisfying following criteria can be registered under this Act:-
- Capable of distinguishing from any other layout design
- Have not been commercially exploited anywhere in India or in a convention country.
A creator of a layout design an Indian national or national of country outside India which accords to citizens of India similar and has principal place of business in India or if he does not carry out business in India , has place of service in India can apply for registration.
Once a company or an individual launches a new product with some unique feature, he/ she/ they can submit application with the drawing/ mask and layout of the circuit for registration.
Tenure for Protection of registered is 10 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 convention country or country specified by Government of India whichever is earlier. It enables him to exploit the creation commercially and in the case of infringement, get reliefs permitted under the Act. Once the layout design is registered, the original registration and all subsequent assignments and transmissions of layout-design are admissible as a prima facie evidence of its validity. It cannot be held invalid on the ground that it was not a registrable layout design except upon evidence of originality and if such evidence was not submitted to the Registrar before. The Act confer all the powers of a civil court to the Registrar for the purposes of receiving evidence, administering oaths, enforcing the attendance of witnesses compelling the discovery and production of documents and issuing commissions for examination the of witnesses. It can also refer disputes to the Appellate Board.