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Cyber Laws for Every Netizen in India_2004

Cyber Laws for Every Netizen in India_2004

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Published by Deepti Vidyarthi

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Published by: Deepti Vidyarthi on Aug 17, 2011
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Immediately after the Information Technology Act 2000 was
passed in the Indian Parliament, yet another law which has an
indirect impact on Cyber space was passed by the Parliament.
This was the Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design
Act 2000. (SCA-2000).

This was a piece of legislation following India becoming a
signatory to the TRIPS (Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights) agreement between UN member nations.

The Act received the assent of the President on the 4th
September 2000. At present the rules under the Act are being
finalized. Even though a detailed discussion of this Act is not
within the scope of this book, a bird’s eye view of the Act is
provided here so as to create an awareness amongst the readers
about this Act.

The SCA-2000 provides for registration of Integrated Circuit
Layouts and confers certain rights on the creator of the design
similar to Copyright.

According to the Act, “layout-design” means a layout of
transistors and other circuitry elements and includes lead wires
connecting such elements and expressed in any manner in a
semiconductor integrated circuit .

“Semiconductor integrated circuit” means a product having
transistors and other circuitry elements which are inseparably
formed on a semiconductor material or an insulating material or


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inside the semiconductor material and designed to perform an
electronic circuitry function.

This definition includes “Chips” that are used in a Computer and
also many other electronic devices such as the Washing Machines,
Microwave Ovens, Mobile phones, Smart Cards etc.

It is these chips that create the “Cyber Space” of communication
between different hardware pieces. These are the Chips that form
the brains of the automated Computer systems that are part of the
Cyber society.

The objective of the Act is to provide a means for protecting the
Intellectual Property involved in such circuit design and enabling
the owner to assign or transfer the right for consideration by
means of royalty or otherwise.

Any “Original” and “Distinctive” circuit designs which have not
been commercially exploited in India or elsewhere, can be
registered under this Act with a registrar to be appointed for the

Unlike the “Patent” which can be registered only by an inventor
and Copyright which belongs to the “Author”, the Act prescribes
that where an original layout-design has been created in execution
of a commission or a contract of employment, the right of
registration to such layout-design under this Act shall belong, in
the absence of any contractual provision to the contrary, to the
person who commissioned the work or to the employer.

There is a provision for registering a design jointly in the names of
more than one person if the right is indistinguishable.


January 2004 ©Naavi

The registration will be valid for 10 years. Any act of reproducing,
whether by incorporating in a semiconductor integrated circuit or
otherwise, a registered layout-design in its entirety or any part
thereof, by any person other than the registrant or his assignee
will constitute “Infringement” and provides a right to the
registrant to proceed against such a person.

Any act of importing or selling or otherwise distributing for
commercial purposes a registered layout-design or a
semiconductor integrated circuit incorporating such registered
layout-design or an article incorporating such a semiconductor
integrated circuit containing such registered layout-design for the
use of which such person is not entitled under this Act will also
be an infringement of the rights of the registrant.

There is a “Fair Use” kind of provision which allows reproduction
where such act is performed for the limited purposes of scientific
evaluation, analysis, research or teaching and which will not
constitute act of infringement within the meaning of this Act.

Where any person by application of independent intellect has
created a layout-design which is identical to a registered layout-
design, then, any act of such person in respect of the layout-
design so created shall not be the infringement of the registered


There are both Civil and Criminal remedies provided in the SCA-
2000 against violations of the provisions of the Act.

Any person who knowingly and willfully infringes the rights of a
registrant of a lay out design is punishable with imprisonment for


January 2004 ©Naavi

a term which may extend to three years, or with fine which shall
not be less than fifty-thousand rupees but which may extend to
ten lakhs rupees, or with both.

Where a person is convicted of an offence of infringement, the
Court convicting him may direct the forfeiture to Government of
all goods and things by means of, or in relation to which the
offence has been committed.

Any person who falsely represents an unregistered design as
registered, is punishable with imprisonment for a term which may
extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to fifty
thousand rupees or with both.

If the person committing an offence under this Act is a company,
the company as well as every person in charge of, and responsible
to, the company for the conduct of its business at the time of the
commission of the offence shall be deemed to be guilty of the
offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished

In any prosecution under this Act, the Court may order such costs
to be paid by the accused to the complainant, or by the
complainant to the accused, as the court deems reasonable, having
regard to all the circumstances of the case and the conduct of the
parties. Costs so awarded shall be recoverable as if they were a

The Act envisages constitution of an Appellate Board called the
Layout-Design Appellate Board to redress some of the grievances
arising out of the registration of design layouts. The Appellate
Board shall consist of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and such
other Members as the Central Government may deem fit.


January 2004 ©Naavi

The Appellate Board will hear the appeals against any of the
decisions of the registrar. It will also determine the royalty
payable to the registered owner of a design in cases such as the
user had no prior knowledge of the registration and had
proceeded to use the same in good faith. It will also rectify the
register of Layout designs when necessary and will have the power
to cancel the registration in certain cases.

The board also has powers to permit the use of a registered layout
design without the authorization of the registered proprietor for
non-commercial public purposes or for the purposes relating to
national emergency or of extreme public urgency for a limited
period. While granting such compulsory license, the Board will fix
the royalty payable to the registered proprietor of the design.

An order or decision made by the Appellate Board is executable
by a Civil Court having local jurisdiction as if it were a decree
made by that court.

Thus the SCA-2000 is a law which has a blend of “Patent Act”
and “Copyright Act” and applies to the intellectual property
concerning the hardware that constitutes part of the Cyber World.


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