Topographies of semiconductor products
A semiconductor product (integrated circuits) is a device for performing an electronic function which, in its final form or intermediate form, is an indivisible whole consisting of one or more layers bonded together by semiconductor elements, at least one of which is an active element.
Topography protection in Slovenia
A topography is protected when it is registered in the register of topographies.
The protection of rights of authors of topographies of semiconductor products in Slovenia is regulated in the Protection of Topographies of Integrated Circuits Act and the Rules on the registration of topographies of integrated circuits.
The exclusive rights take effect on the first of the following dates:
- the date of filing the application or
- the date on which the topography in question was first commercially exploited anywhere in the world.
The application may not be filed after the expiry of two years from the date of the first commercial exploitation of the topography.
Before filing an application
Before applying for registration of a topography of semiconductor products, we recommend that you find out what can be registered as a topography, who can file the application for registration, how the registration procedure works, who can help you with the application, etc.
The following information is particularly important:
What is a topography?
In the Protection of Topographies of Integrated Circuits Act, a semiconductor product is defined as a device for performing an electronic function which, in its final form or intermediate form, is an indivisible whole consisting of one or more layers bonded together by semiconductor elements, at least one of which is an active element.
The topography of semiconductor products is a uniquely determined sequence of interconnected image patterns for each layer of a semiconductor product, where these patterns illustrate the arrangement of semiconductor elements on the layers, regardless of how this arrangement is depicted in notation or codes or expressed in some other way.
A topography may be protected if it is original, i.e. if it is the result of one’s own creative effort and was not known from everyday use in the industry at the time of its creation.
Who is entitled to topography protection?
The right to protection of a topography belongs to its creator. If there are several creators, this right belongs to them jointly.
Duration and maintenance of the right
There is no need to pay fees for the maintenance of validity, since the payment of the application fee already covers the maintenance of validity for the entire duration of the term.
The exclusive rights expire before the expiry of one of the time limits listed above if the fees are not paid or if the holder waives the protection of the protected topography in writing.
The exclusive rights expire at the end of the first of the following periods:
- at the end of the calendar year in which ten years have elapsed from the date on which the topography was first commercially exploited anywhere in the world or
- at the end of the calendar year following the expiry of 10 years from the date on which the correct application was submitted.
Notwithstanding the above, the exclusive rights expire after 15 years from the date on which the topography was depicted but not commercially exploited.
There is no need to worry about maintaining the validity of this right, since the payment of the application fee already covers the maintenance of validity for the entire duration of the term until the right expires after the expiry of one of the periods listed above.
In addition to compensation, a person whose protection is violated may request that the person who violates their right be prohibited from further violations.
A person who commercially exploits a semiconductor product with a protected topography and who does not know or could not have known that it is a protected topography cannot be prevented from commercially exploiting such a semiconductor product.
Notifying the Office of changes to the topography
The Office keeps registers of industrial property rights. If you wish to transfer your topography to a new holder or if you have changed your name, registered name, address or registered office, you must register (on payment of the appropriate fees) the change in the relevant register.
You can also contact the Office if you need a certificate of the topography from the register.