Semi-conductor products (chips) can be protected by means of patents and are subjected in this respect to the same conditions as inventions in other fields.
Many countries, including Switzerland, have judged it useful to provide a title of protection specially adapted to semi-conductor products. This new form of protection makes it possible to protect at a reasonable cost the layout of a circuit, independently from its achieved function.
The filing of semi-conductor topographies is cost-effective and makes it possible to protect oneself efficiently against slavish infringement and reverse-engineering. The register of topographies is public, so that the characteristics of the filed circuits cannot subsequently be patented. The topographies thus allow a protection with minimal formalities against the risk of infringement of patents filed subsequently by third parties.
Although the number of topographies filed remains modest to date, an increase is to be expected when the manufacturers and their counsels become better acquainted with this new title of protection. We have accumulated an experience unique in Switzerland in this field and continue to monitor closely all further developments.
Further information regarding the protection of semi-conductor topographies can be downloaded here.