Law of the United States of America
and Related Laws
Contained in Title 17 of the United States Code
GATT/Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights (TRIPs) Agreement, Part II1
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Section 6: Layout-Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits
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Article 35 · Relation to IPIC Treaty
Members agree to provide protection to the layout-designs (topographies)
of integrated circuits (hereinafter referred to as “layout-designs”)
in accordance with Articles 2–7 (other than paragraph 3 of Article 6),
Article 12 and paragraph 3 of Article 16 of the Treaty on Intellectual Property
in Respect of Integrated Circuits and, in addition, to comply with the following
Article 36 · Scope of the Protection
Subject to the provisions of paragraph 1 of Article 37 below,
Members shall consider unlawful the following acts if performed without the
authorization of the right holder:2 importing,
selling, or otherwise distributing for commercial purposes a protected layout-design,
an integrated circuit in which a protected layout-design is incorporated, or
an article incorporating such an integrated circuit only insofar as it continues
to contain an unlawfully reproduced layout-design.
Article 37 · Acts Not Requiring the Authorization of the Right
1. Notwithstanding Article 36 above, no Member shall consider
unlawful the performance of any of the acts referred to in that Article in
respect of an integrated circuit incorporating an unlawfully reproduced layout-design
or any article incorporating such an integrated circuit where the person performing
or ordering such acts did not know and had no reasonable ground to know, when
acquiring the integrated circuit or article incorporating such an integrated
circuit, that it incorporated an unlawfully reproduced layout-design. Members
shall provide that, after the time that such person has received sufficient
notice that the layout-design was unlawfully reproduced, he may perform any
of the acts with respect to the stock on hand or ordered before such time,
but shall be liable to pay to the right holder a sum equivalent to a reasonable
royalty such as would be payable under a freely negotiated license in respect
of such a layout-design.
2. The conditions set out in sub-paragraphs (a)–(k) of
Article 31 above shall apply mutatis mutandis in the event of any nonvoluntary
licensing of a layout-design or of its use by or for the government without
the authorization of the right holder.
Article 38· Term of Protection
1. In Members requiring registration as a condition of
protection, the term of protection of layout-designs shall not end before the
expiration of a period of ten years counted from the date of filing an application
for registration or from the first commercial exploitation wherever in the
world it occurs.
2. In Members not requiring registration as a condition
for protection, layout-designs shall be protected for a term of no less than
ten years from the date of the first commercial exploitation wherever in the
world it occurs.
3. Notwithstanding paragraphs 1 and 2 above, a Member
may provide that protection shall lapse fifteen years after the creation of
an explanation of the relationship of this section of TRIPs to title 17 of
the United States Code, see the second paragraph of note 8, chapter 9, supra.
2Article 36 includes
footnote 9 that states, “The term ‘right
holder’ in this Section shall be understood as having the same meaning
as the term ‘holder of the right’ in the IPIC Treaty.” The
IPIC Treaty, which was signed in Washington, D.C., on May 26, 1989, is also
known as the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits.
3See note 2, supra.