IP rights and semiconductors
Produced in partnership with Greg Burke of RPC , Paul Joseph of RPC and Sophie Tuson of RPC
IP rights and semiconductors

The following IP practice note Produced in partnership with Greg Burke of RPC, Paul Joseph of RPC and Sophie Tuson of RPC provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • IP rights and semiconductors
  • Background to semiconductors
  • Semiconductor topography rights
  • What is protected?
  • Protection of a layer
  • Qualification
  • Ownership
  • Term of protection
  • Infringement
  • Other forms of protection
  • More...

IP COMPLETION DAY: 11pm (GMT) on 31 December 2020 marks the end of the Brexit transition/implementation period entered into following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. At this point in time (referred to in UK law as ‘IP completion day’), key transitional arrangements come to an end and significant changes begin to take effect across the UK’s legal regime. This document contains guidance on subjects impacted by these changes. Before continuing your research, see Practice Note: What does IP completion day mean for intellectual property?

Background to semiconductors

A semiconductor is essentially any material which has electrical conductivity and can thus either conduct, or conversely, block, the flow of electrical current.

Semiconductor chips, found, for example, in computers, mobile phones and microwave ovens, are generally made using circular wafers of silicon.

IP rights exist in order to protect the semiconductor industry, including electronic circuit boards and the component chips.

Semiconductor topography rights

The semiconductor topography right is an additional right to unregistered design law, intended to protect a specific industrial article, namely, as set out above, the electronic circuit board and the arrangement of semiconductors.

The right was implemented into English law under the Protection of Topography Directive (Directive 87/54/EC) and the Design Right (Semiconductor Topographies) Regulations 1989, SI 1989/1100. Where a design is a semiconductor topography (see below), under the Design Right (Semiconductor Topographies) Regulations 1989, the design

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