Semi-conductor protection

There is an own right to protection of chip design. This must, however, be registered.


The (Austrian) Semi-conductor Protection law is a property right granted by the government for topographies (“Chip design”), which arises through registration with the Austrian Patent Office without substantive, official examination: If the application fulfils the formal legal requirements, the protection right is registered in the Semiconductor Protection Register and the registration is published in the Patent gazette.

The term for semi-conductor protection is ten years from the date of protection. The protection begins on the day of the first commercial exploitation of the semi-conductor product, if an application with the Patent Office is made within the following two years.  In the case of semi-conductor products, which have not been publicly exploited at the time of application, the protection begins on the application date.

Third parties have the possibility to file an application for annulment against the semi-conductor protection if the semi-conductor protection right was improperly registered.

In Austria, semi-conductor protection is, for the most part, regulated in the Austrian Semi-Conductor Protection Law.

The Semi-conductor protection right grants its holder an exclusion right, i.e. the holder may prohibit others from using the topography. In case of breach, the holder may demand, in particular, the cessation of the infringing use, the removal thereof, reasonable compensation regardless of negligence or fault or damages regardless of negligence or fault, each including financial statements, publication of the judgement and information about the origin and distribution channel. The cessation, but also the preserving of evidence (“house search under civil law”) or the ability to pay (“freezing of assets”) can be enforced through a preliminary injunction. An intentional infringement is also a criminal offence.