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Term of layout design protection in Vietnam

Layout design is one of the subjects of industrial property rights. All individuals and organizations, when fully meeting the protection conditions for layout designs, will be protected by the state and the law. So what is Term of layout design protection in Vietnam’s current law? Viet An Law will be presented in the following article.

Legal basis

  • The Law on Intellectual Property 2005, as amended and supplemented in 2009, 2019, 2022.

What is layout design?

Pursuant to Clause 15, Article 4 of the Intellectual Property Law 2005, as amended and supplemented in 2022, stipulates that the concept of layout design of semiconductor integrated circuits is the spatial structure of circuit elements and the connection of those elements in a semiconductor integrated circuit.

Protection conditions for layout designs

General conditions for the layout design of semiconductor integrated circuits to be protected by law are as follows:

Firstly, the layout design of semiconductor integrated circuits must be original

Originality is guaranteed if two criteria are met.

  • That design is the result of the author’s own creative labor.
  • The design must not have been widely known to the creators of the semiconductor integrated circuit layout design and to the semiconductor integrated circuit manufacturers at the time of the creation of the semiconductor integrated circuit layout design.

Second, the semiconductor integrated circuit layout design must be commercially novel:

  • A semiconductor integrated circuit layout design is considered commercially novel if it has never been put into commercial use anywhere in the world.
  • A layout design shall not be deemed to have lost its commercial novelty if an application for registration of a layout design is filed within two years from the date on which such layout design is registered by the holder.

Registration for protection of layout designs of semiconductor integrated circuits

A dossier of registration for protection of a semiconductor integrated circuit layout design includes:

  • 02 Registration form for layout design of semiconductor integrated circuits, typed according to form number: 02-TKBT Appendix A Circular 01/2007/TT-BKHCN;
  • 04 sets of drawings, and photos of the layout design of semiconductor integrated circuits;
  • Information on functions and structures of semiconductor integrated circuits manufactured according to the layout design of semiconductor integrated circuits;
  • Samples of semiconductor integrated circuits manufactured by layout design, if the layout design has been commercially exploited.
  • Proof of payment of fees and charges.

Steps to proceed with the registration procedure for semiconductor integrated circuit layout design

Step 1: Receive the application for the design of the semiconductor integrated circuit layout design

Customers can submit directly or send by post to the headquarters of the National Office of Intellectual Property.

Step 2: Verify the application form for the design of the semiconductor integrated circuit layout

This is the procedure to check compliance with the regulations on the form of the application, thereby making a conclusion that the application is valid or not.

  • In case the application is valid, the NOIP will send the applicant a decision to accept the valid application, and at the same time specify the subjects stated in the application capable of being granted the Layout Design Registration Certificate;
  • In case the application is invalid, the NOIP shall send the applicant a decision to refuse to accept the application.
  • Time limit for formality examination: 01 month from the date of application submission;

Step 3: Publish application

  • After there is a decision to accept the valid application, the application will be published in the Industrial Property Official Gazette.
  • Time limit for application publication: 02 months from the date of acceptance of valid application;

Step 4: Notice of intention to issue Registration Certificate

  • Within 03 months from the date the layout design of the semiconductor integrated circuit is published in the Official Gazette of Industrial Property, if there is no opinion or objection of a third party against the registration of the layout design of the semi-integrated integrated circuit, the National Office of Intellectual Property will notify the intention to issue the Registration Certificate for the object stated in the application and fix a time limit of 03 months from the date of notification for the applicant to pay the publication fee, registration fee, and fee for granting protection title.
  • Time limit for notification of intention to issue the Certificate of registration of layout design of semiconductor integrated circuits: 03 months from the date on which the layout design of semiconductor integrated circuits is published in the Industrial Property Official Gazette;

Step 5: Make the decision to grant/refuse to issue the Registration Certificate

  • Time limit for granting Layout Design Registration Certificate: 03 months from the date of application publication.

Term of layout design protection in Vietnam

Article 93 of the 2005 Law on Intellectual Property, as amended and supplemented in 2022, stipulates the validity of protection titles for industrial property objects, in which the provisions of protection titles for layout designs take effect. from the date of issue and terminate on the earliest of the following dates:

  • Ends ten years from the date of application.

Example: After preparing a complete application for registration of layout design protection, the owner of the ABC layout design shall submit an application to the National Office of Intellectual Property to request a certificate of registration of the circuit layout design. integrated semiconductor ABC on 01/01/. Thus, the certificate of registration of the layout design will terminate at the earliest on January 1, 2033, and the validity of the protection title will expire, i.e. the term of protection for the ABC layout design has expired.

  • End of ten years from the date on which the layout design is first commercially exploited by the right holder or authorized person anywhere in the world

Example: The owner of the layout design of the XYZ semiconductor integrated circuit allows LMN Co., Ltd. to exploit commercially the layout design of the XYZ semiconductor integrated circuit through a legally enforceable contract. LMN Co., Ltd. exploited that layout design on the first day on June 1, 2023. Thus, by the end of June 1, 1933, the XYZ layout design registration certificate was no longer valid for protection.

  • The end of fifteen years from the date of creation of the layout design.

Example: The owner of AOY semiconductor integrated circuit layout design creates a complete layout design on January 15, 2023, by January 15, 2038, the integrated circuit layout design of AOY semiconductor has expired.

The integrated circuit layout design protects the spatial design of the semiconductor circuit, but the scope of protection is essentially limited to the design itself and therefore does not limit the reverse engineering of this design. The term of protection is usually 10 years.

Some questions related to layout design in Vietnam

Can the term of protection for layout designs be extended?

A patent for the layout design of a semiconductor integrated circuit is also limited in terms of the duration of protection similar to useful engineering solutions and is not renewable. The term of protection for a layout design of a semiconductor integrated circuit is specified in connection with specific events: the date of filing the application, the date of creation of the layout design, the date the layout design was registered by the right holder or by which enables commercial mining for the first time anywhere in the world.

Is there a fee to maintain the term of layout design protection?

The layout design protection certificate is not required to pay the maintenance fee for the term of layout design protection.

In which case is the certificate of registration of layout design terminated?

Pursuant to Article 95 of the Law on Intellectual Property 2005 (amended by Clause 30, Article 1 of the Law on Intellectual Property Amended 2022) stipulating that the Certificate of registration of layout design is terminated in whole or in part. in the following cases:

  • Layout design registration certificate holder fails to pay fees and charges to maintain validity or extend validity as prescribed;
  • In case the holder of the Certificate of Layout Design Registration fails to pay the fee or fee for the extension within the prescribed time limit, upon the end of that time limit, the validity of the Layout Design Registration Certificate will automatically cease from the date of the beginning of the next period of validity without payment of fees and charges for renewal.
  • The State management agency in charge of industrial property rights shall record the invalidation of the Certificate of registration of layout design in the National Register of Industrial Property and publish it in the Industrial Property Official Gazette.
  • The holder of the Layout Design Registration Certificate declares to give up industrial property rights;
  • The protection title holder no longer exists or the trademark registration certificate holder no longer operates without a legal successor.

If Clients have any difficulties and problems related to the registration procedure for semiconductor integrated circuit layout design, please contact Viet An Law Firm for advice!

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