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Layout design registration in Vietnam

Viet An Law Firm was established in 2007 and recognized as an Intellectual Property Representative Organization at the Vietnam National Office of Intellectual Property. After 15 years of operation, Viet An Law Firm is proud to be one of the most prestigious law firms, providing the best services to customers in the field of legal consulting and intellectual property consulting services. and intellectual property representation services in Vietnam. Viet An Law would like to guide customers through the procedures for registering semiconductor integrated circuit layout designs in the article below.

semiconductor integrated circuit layout designs

Legal basis

  • Law on Intellectual Property 2005, as amended and supplemented 2009, 2019, 2022.
  • Decree 65/2023/ND-CP details and guides the implementation of several articles of the Intellectual Property Law on industrial property.
  • Circular 23/2023/TT-BKHCN guiding the Intellectual Property Law and Decree 65/2023/ND-CP guiding the Intellectual Property Law on industrial property.

Protection conditions for semiconductor integrated circuit layout designs

Semiconductor integrated circuit layout design (referred to as layout design) is the spatial structure of circuit elements and the connections of those elements in a semiconductor integrated circuit. General conditions for protected semiconductor integrated circuit layout designs are as follows:

The semiconductor integrated circuit layout design must be original

Originality is guaranteed if two criteria are met. Firstly, the layout design is the result of the author’s creative labor. Secondly, the layout design must not have been generally known to the creators of the semiconductor integrated circuit layout design and the manufacturers of the semiconductor integrated circuit layout at the time of the creation of that semiconductor integrated circuit layout design.

The semiconductor integrated circuit layout design must be commercially novelty

A semiconductor integrated circuit layout design is considered to be commercially novel if it has never been commercially exploited anywhere in the world.

Layout design registration in Vietnam

Dossier for registration of protection of semiconductor integrated circuit layout design

Under the current Law on Intellectual Property in Vietnam, dossier for registration of protection of layout design includes:

  • Registration declaration according to the form specified in Form No. 06 – Appendix I of Decree No. 65/2023/ND-CP;
  • Documents, samples, and information showing the layout design registered for protection, including;
  1. Drawings and photos of layout design;
  2. Information about the function and structure of semiconductor integrated circuits manufactured according to layout design;
  3. Semiconductor integrated circuit samples manufactured according to layout designs if the layout designs have been commercially exploited.
  • Power of attorney (if the layout design registration application is submitted through Viet An Law industrial property representative);
  • Document proving the right to registration, if the applicant enjoys that right of another person;
  • Documents proving priority rights, if there is a claim for priority rights, include the following 2 documents:
    • Copy of the first application or applications certified by the agency that received the first application;
    • Certificate of transfer of priority rights if that right is inherited from another person.
  • Documents explaining the origin of genetic resources or traditional knowledge about genetic resources in the patent application, for inventions directly created based on genetic resources or traditional knowledge about genetic resources;
  • Proof of payment of fees and charges.

Note: Dossier’s language is Vietnamese, except for the following documents that can be made in other languages but must be translated into Vietnamese when required by the National Office of Intellectual Property:

  • Power of Attorney;
  • Documents proving registration rights;
  • Documents proving priority rights;
  • Other documents to support the application.

Procedures for registering semiconductor integrated circuit layout design in Vietnam

Step 1: Receive layout design registration application

Registration applications can be submitted in person or sent by post to the headquarters of the National Office of Intellectual Property.

Step 2: Formality examination of the layout design registration application

Check compliance with the regulations on the form as prescribed in Article 9 of Circular 23/2023/TT-BKHCN, thereby concluding whether the application is considered valid or not.

Amending and supplementing the missing application:

  • If the application falls into one of the cases where the application is considered invalid, the National Office of Intellectual Property shall send the applicant a notice of intention to refuse to accept the application because the application is invalid. The notice must clearly state the name and address of the applicant; name of the authorized person (if any); name of subject stated in the application; application date and application number; Reasons and shortcomings that may cause the application to be refused and 02 months from the date of notification is set for the applicant to comment or correct the errors. Except in cases of missing documents proving the basis for enjoying priority rights, the additional time limit is 03 months from the date of application (Article 12.1(d) Decree No. 65/2023/ND-CP).
  • If within the above time limit, the applicant does not correct the errors, does not correct the errors unsatisfactorily, or does not have a valid objection to the intended refusal, the National Office of Intellectual Property will issue a refusal notice and terminate the application processing.

Notification of results of formal appraisal of layout design registration application

  • If the application falls into one of the cases considered invalid as prescribed in Clause 2, Article 9 of Circular 23/2023/TT-BKHCN, the National Office of Intellectual Property shall carry out procedures to request amendments and supplements to the missing application.
  • If the application is valid, the National Office of Intellectual Property shall send the applicant a notice of intention to issue a Certificate of layout design registration and set 03 months from the date of notification for the applicant to pay fees and charges as prescribed.

Step 3: Publish the registration application

  • The layout design registration application is published in a form that allows direct search at the state management agency on industrial property rights but cannot be copied.
  • Basic information about the layout design registration application and the layout design protection certificate will be published within two (02) months from the date of grant of the protection title.
  • Storage form of Certificate of layout design registration: National Register of semiconductor integrated circuit layout designs.

Cases where layout design applications are rejected in Vietnam

An application that has been received but falls into one of the following cases may be rejected if the applicant does not comply with the provisions of Vietnam intellectual property law during the application formality examination stage:

  • The applicant has been sent a notice of result by the National Office of Intellectual Property and requested to supplement the flawed application but the applicant does not correct the errors or the correction is unsatisfactory or has no objections or improper comments within the set time limit
  • The applicant fails to fully pay the fees and charges for issuance of the Certificate of layout design registration according to regulations.

Legal consequences: The National Office of Intellectual Property issues a decision to refuse to issue the Certificate of layout design registration to the applicant.

Some questions related to layout design registration in Vietnam

Does layout design registration have regulations on substantive examination of the application?

According to the provisions of Article 12 of Circular 23/2023/TT-BKHCN, unlike the remaining industrial property objects, content appraisal does not apply to layout design applications. Accordingly, the process of processing a layout design registration application only includes the formal examination of the application.

Does the layout design application be confidential?

The National Office of Intellectual Property is obliged to keep confidential the information in the layout design registration application that the applicant requests confidentiality according to the provisions of Article 18 of Circular 23/2023/TT-BKHCN.

Accordingly, from the date the application is published, everyone can access detailed information about the nature of the layout design stated in the published application, except for confidential information as prescribed above. Confidential information is only allowed to be accessed by competent authorities carrying out procedures to invalidate protection titles or carry out procedures to handle acts of infringement of rights to layout designs.

How is the priority date for submitting layout design applications determined?

According to the provisions of Article 9 of Circular 23/2023/TT-BKHCN, the priority date is determined as follows:

  • If the application does not claim priority or although the application claims priority but is not approved by the National Office of Intellectual Property, the application is considered to have no priority date;
  • If the application claims priority, the priority date (or priority dates) is the date stated in the above request and approved by the National Office of Intellectual Property;
  • The determination of the priority date according to the request for priority rights is based on the first application (applications) filed in Vietnam by the principles specified in Article 91 of the Intellectual Property Law and the corresponding regulations at points b, c and dd Clause 1 Article 12 of Decree 65/2023/ND-CP.

Service on layout design registration in Vietnam of Intellectual Property Representative – Viet An Law

  • Legal advice on registration procedures for semiconductor integrated circuit layout designs
  • Drafting registration documents for semiconductor integrated circuit layout design;
  • Submit documents and monitor progress at the National Office of Intellectual Property;
  • Exchange and provide information to customers during the process of registering semiconductor integrated circuit layout designs.

If you have any difficulties or problems related to procedures for registering semiconductor integrated circuit layout designs, please contact Viet An Law Firm for advice!

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