?Integrated circuit topography is the basis for most of our modern technology. From communication and entertainment devices to manufacturing, medical and space technologies. They can even be found in something as simple as our household appliances, like our coffee makers and alarm clocks. Although there were only 38 registrations under the Act between 1993 and 1999 the Canadian government recognized the growing impact of integrated circuit topography and passed the Integrated Circuit Topography Act on May 1st, 1993. The Act, which was developed for the need to protect Canadian innovations both nationally and internationally, regulates the intellectual property of integrated circuit topographies and provides exclusive rights for the creator of the integrated circuit topography. So what does this all mean? First lets start with a basic definition of intellectual property: intellectual property -noun 1. property that results from original creative thought, as patents, copyright material, and trademarks. Ok, so an intellectual property is something that was created from original thought and is patented or copyrighted. Now what about Integrated Circuit Topography? integrated circuit topography -noun 1. electronic integrated circuits or products that are configured and interconnected. So basically the layout and design of any circuit board. Putting it all together - someone who creates an original layout or design of a circuit board can now be protected under the new Integrated Circuit Topography Act, meaning their layout cannot be used without permission from the owner. The Canadian Intellectual Property Office or CIPO is the agency responsible for integrated circuit topographies. They are also responsible for other types of intellectual property as well, including: 1) patents 2) copyrights 3) trademarks 4) industrial designs A breakdown of the Integrated Circuit Topography Act The Act provides protection: 1) To owners by providing exclusive rights to: i) exclude others from reproducing the integrated circuit topography ii) exclude others from manufacturing a product including the integrated circuit topography iii) exclude others from importing or commercially exploiting the integrated circuit topography 2) For up to 10 years for a registered integrated circuit topography. Three exceptions to the Integrated Circuit Topography Act: 1) Once the owner has given authorization to another party to use the integrated circuit topography in a product for commercial use the owner no longer has any statutory right to control its use, rental, resale or redistribution. 2) Copying of a protected topography for the purposes of analysis, evaluation, research or teaching is allowed under the Act. 3) Reverse engineering of the integrated circuit topography is also permitted under the Act. In order to have any kind of rights under the Act the owner of an integrated circuit topography is first required to register the integrated circuit. It must be noted that the Registrar of Topographies will not examine integrated circuit topography at any time to determine if the design is original or if it meets the qualification under the Act. They will however reject the application if the owner does not meet the nationality requirements or if the application is received after the time period, which is no later than two years after the integrated circuit topography's first commercial use. ABOUT THE WRITER Corey Rozon is a freelance writer in Canada. This article about integrated circuit topography was written on behalf of Convergent Intellectual Property, a Canadian company specializing in intellectual property rights.
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