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This article was written by Naman Tripathi, a student of Hidayatullah National Law University.

Semiconductor Integrated Circuit Layout Design(SICLD) Act, 2000, has come into task in India w.e.f. fourth September 2000. According to the arrangements of this Act, Registrar Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Registry under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has been designated with its head office at Electronics Niketan, 6 CGO Complex, Lodi Road New Delhi-110003.The Registry keeps up the Register of Layout-Designs and records in it the enrolled format plans with the names, locations, and depictions of the proprietor and such different issues identified with the enlisted design outlines.
The focus of the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act 2000 is to give security of Intellectual Property Right (IPR) in the zone of Semiconductor Integrated Circuit Layout Designs and for issues associated therewith or accidental thereto.
Semiconductor Integrated Circuit implies an item having transistors and other hardware components, which are indivisibly shaped on a semiconductor material or a protecting material or inside the semiconductor material and intended to play out an electronic hardware work.
“Layout – Designs (Topography)” implies the three-dimensional lining up, however expressed, of the components, no less than one of which is a functioning component, and of a few or the greater part of the interconnections of a coordinated circuit, or such a three-dimensional manner arranged for an incorporated circuit proposed for produce. Layout – Design of coordinated circuits are likewise called Topography of incorporated circuits or cover works of semiconductor chip items. Article 2 of the Washington Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits (IPIC).
This Act is applicable for IC Layout-Design IPR applications filed at the Registry in India.

  1. Jurisdiction to the whole of India
  2. SICLD Registry as the front end – where the layout-designs of integrated circuit chips can be registered
  3. Defines layout-designs of integrated circuits which can be registered under the Act
  4. Defines duration of registration of layout-designs
  5. Defines rights conferred by registration
  6. Defines matters of infringement of layout-designs
  7. Defines procedures for assignment and transmission of registered layout- design
  8. Provides for registered users for using registered layout-design
  9. Provides for an Appellate Board as a forum of redressal
  10. Treatment of Royalties
  11. Provides for provisions in matter of national emergency or extreme public urgency
  12. Specifies penalty in case of :
    1. infringement of layout-design
    2. falsely representing a layout-design as registered
    3. improperly describing a place of business
    4. falsification of entries in the register
    5. forfeiture of goods
    6. offences by companies
  13. Provision for agents
  14. Reciprocity provision with other recognized countries

Procedure for Registration of Layout design

A.) Filing of application in writing to the registrar in the office of SICLD registry in a prescribed form along with 3 sets of drawings produced to the plotter which describes the layout design and 3 sets of photograph of masks used for the fabrication of the semiconductor integrated circuits by using of the layout design or drawings which describes the pattern of such masks.

B.) Acceptance of the application with acknowledgement by way of returning one copy of the application. The registrar can also withdraw the acceptance if the application is found to be prohibited for registration.

C.) The application is advertised in a prescribed manner within 14 days of acceptance of layout design application. If any opposition is found to the registration, then a notice is sent to the registrar in the prescribed manner within 3 months from the date of advertisement. The registrar can call for evidences to be produced by both the parties and finally give his decision.

D.) If the application is not opposed or the opposition has been decided in favor of the applicant, the registrar shall register the said layout design in the register of layout design and also issue a certificate sealed with the seal of the SICLD Registry.

The registration of the layout design will be just for the time of 10 years checked from the date of recording an application for enrolment or from the date of first commercial exploitation any place in any nation, whichever is prior.

The registration of the layout design provides for the enlisted proprietor of the layout design the dedicated right to the utilization of the layout design, commercially exploit it and to acquire relief in the case of infringement. This privilege will be accessible to the registered proprietor of that layout design regardless of the reality with respect to whether the layout design is fused in an article or not. A man who becomes entitled by assignment or transmission to an enrolled  layout design will apply to the Registrar in the prescribed way to enlisted title. The Registrar on the evidence of his title agreeable to him, register him as the proprietor of the layout design. Commercial exploitation implies acts such as sell, lease, offer or exhibit for sale or otherwise distribute such semiconductor integrated circuit for commercial purpose.

The application for the protection of layout design can be made by the person who claims to be :

  • the creator of the layout design,
  • his legal representative,
  • a person registered in the prescribed manner as a layout design agent or,
  • a person in the sole and regular employment of the principal, in writing to the registrar in the prescribed manner.

The application can be recorded either alone or jointly. The application must be documented inside the territorial limits that is a foremost place of business in India of the candidate.

The act of reproducing, selling, importing and distributing of integrated circuit layout design for commercial purposes constitutes infringement. Where such act is performed for the purposes of scientific evaluation, analysis, research or teaching shall not constitute the act of infringement. Any person who commits infringement shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to 3 years, or with fine which shall not be less than fifty thousand rupees but which may extend to ten lakh rupees, or with both.

Adjudicating Authority

The Government of India appoints a person to be known as a registrar of the SICLD. He has both administrative and legal powers. Any person aggrieved by an order or decision of the Registrar may file an appeal to the Layout Design Appellate Board. The procedure and powers of the Appellate Board are that of a civil court as given under the Civil Procedure Code, 1908. If any person is not satisfied by any decision or order of the Appellate Board may file an appeal to the High Court within prescribed period and in a prescribed manner.

SICLD Act is a sui-generis (one of its kind) specifically meant for protecting IPR relating to Layout-Design (Topographies) of Semiconductor Integrated Circuit.

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