12.8. Section 43 refusal to register: Integrated circuits

Date Published

Designs for any integrated circuit (i.e. a microchip) must not be registered. The exclusion does not cover circuit layouts.

The Circuit Layouts Act 1989 (Cth) (s 5) defines integrated circuit (to which s 43 of the Designs Act applies) as:

a circuit, whether in a final form or an intermediate form, the purpose, or one of the purposes, of which is to perform an electronic function, being a circuit in which the active and passive elements, and any of the interconnections, are integrally formed in or on a piece of material.

The exclusion under the Designs Act relates to some or all of the pattern on the chip, or to the ‘masks’ used in the manufacture of the chip. It does not cover:

  • the plastic housing containing the chip
  • the pin layout – e.g. a diagram design (drawing)
  • printed circuit boards – e.g. the actual board with circuits and so on.

The Circuit Layouts Act (s 5) defines circuit layout (to which s 43 of the Designs Act does not apply) as:

a representation, fixed in any material form, of the three-dimensional location of the active and passive elements and interconnections making up an integrated circuit.

Amended Reasons

Amended Reason Date Amended