Attorney-at-Law Michael Horak, graduate engineer (Electrical Engineering), LL.M. (European Law)

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Semiconductor Topographies – FAQ

What does protection of semiconductor topography mean?

Depositing a semiconductor topography is a cost-effective way of protecting it from being copied identically and from reverse engineering. The protection is independent of the operation of the circuit developed on the basis of the topography. Thus topography protection is related more closely to design protection than to patent protection.

Are there other ways of protection?

Semiconductor products can also be protected by patents and utility designs. They are subject to the same regulations as inventions in other areas. This also comprises the new function of integrated circuits.

What is the relation of registered semiconductor topographies and other types of protection and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The number of registered topographies is relatively small, probably due to the disadvantages of this type of protection.

Its advantage is the low overall cost (low overall protection effort) compared to a patent/utility design. The disadvantage is that protection does not cover any functions but merely the topography as a depiction of possible functions, the effect being that the same functionality can be achieved by an altered topography without infringing the protected topography.

The topography register can be accessed publicly. This means that the characteristics of a deposited circuit cannot be patented afterwards. In conclusion, the topographies allow for a protection against infringements of subsequently submitted patents while requiring a minimum amount of formalities.

What do we need to register your patent?

We simply need a copy of your topographies as well as the usual application data (address etc.). You should not opt for this type of protective right without prior legal consultation, because of the consequences related to patent law.

For the first step, we need only general information on how far you have developed your integrated circuit so far, allowing us to plan further action. Our expert will then contact you to coordinate further information exchange including an estimate of costs.



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