First Regulations on the Protection of Layout-design of

Integrated Circuits to Enter into Effect Soon in China

It was reported by the Xinhua News Agency on 19 April 2001 that the State Council of China had recently enacted the Regulations for the Protection of Layout-design of Integrated Circuits, which would enter into effect on 1 October 2001. Now, the first regulations for the protection of layout-design of integrated circuits has come into being in China.

The Regulations consist of six Chapters (respectively on the General Provisions, Exclusive Rights in Layout-design, Registration of Layout-design, Exercise of Exclusive Rights in Layout-design, Legal Responsibilities and Supplementary Provisions), which, in turn, are composed of 36 Articles.

It is provided in the Regulations that any Chinese natural person, legal entity or any other organisation, any foreign person who, or entity which, first puts his or its layout-design into commercial exploitation in the territory of China, or any foreign inventor of layout-design who is from a country which has concluded an agreement on the protection of layout-design with China or which has acceded, with China, to an international treaty on the protection of layout-design shall, according to the Regulations, enjoys the exclusive right in the layout-design he or it invents.

As the Regulations provide, the exclusive rights in layout-design are generated by the registration thereof with the intellectual property administrative authority under the State Council, and unregistered layout-designs are not protected under the Regulations. The duration of protection for layout-design exclusive rights is ten years starting from the date of application for registration of the layout-design or from the date of putting it into commercial exploitation somewhere in the world, with the earlier date as the starting date. The intellectual property administrative authority under the State Council shall not register any layout-design in respect of which no application for the registration is filed with the intellectual property administrative authority under the State Council within two years from the date when it is first put into commercial exploitation somewhere in the world.

The Regulations provide that the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) is responsible for the examination, registration, reexamination and administrative law enforcement of layout-designs. It is reported that SIPO is formulating a set of implementing rules.

As one of the largest intellectual property right agencies in China, this Agency has been drawing its great attention to the issue of protection of layout-design of integrate circuits and following closely the latest developments in the implementation of the relevant rules and regulations. We shall keep constant contact with the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of China and publish, on our website, the updates in this area in a timely manner.

Regulations on the Protection of Layout-design of Integrated Circuits