United States Code/Title 17/Chapter 9/Section 902

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United States Code
by the United States Government
Title 17, Chapter 9, § 902. Subject matter of protection

From the U.S. Copyright Office.: Added by the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-620, Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3335), with effect as provided in § 913, as amended by Public Law 100-159.

§ 902—Subject matter of protection

(a)(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b), a mask work fixed in a semiconductor chip product, by or under the authority of the owner of the mask work, is eligible for protection under this chapter if—

(A) on the date on which the mask work is registered under section 908, or is first commercially exploited anywhere in the world, whichever occurs first, the owner of the mask work is
(i) a national or domiciliary of the United States,
(ii) a national, domiciliary, or sovereign authority of a foreign nation that is a party to a treaty affording protection to mask works to which the United States is also a party, or
(iii) a stateless person, wherever that person may be domiciled;
(B) the mask work is first commercially exploited in the United States; or
(C) the mask work comes within the scope of a Presidential proclamation issued under paragraph (2).
(2) Whenever the President finds that a foreign nation extends, to mask works of owners who are nationals or domiciliaries of the United States protection
(A) on substantially the same basis as that on which the foreign nation extends protection to mask works of its own nationals and domiciliaries and mask works first commercially exploited in that nation, or
(B) on substantially the same basis as provided in this chapter,
the President may by proclamation extend protection under this chapter to mask works
(i) of owners who are, on the date on which the mask works are registered under section 908, or the date on which the mask works are first commercially exploited anywhere in the world, whichever occurs first, nationals, domiciliaries, or sovereign authorities of that nation, or
(ii) which are first commercially exploited in that nation.
The President may revise, suspend, or revoke any such proclamation or impose any conditions or limitations on protection extended under any such proclamation.

(b) Protection under this chapter shall not be available for a mask work that—

(1) is not original; or
(2) consists of designs that are staple, commonplace, or familiar in the semiconductor industry, or variations of such designs, combined in a way that, considered as a whole, is not original.

(c) In no case does protection under this chapter for a mask work extend to any idea, procedure, process, system, method of operation, concept, principle, or discovery, regardless of the form in which it is described, explained, illustrated, or embodied in such work.

Amendment history[edit]

Section 902 was added by the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-620, Nov. 8, 1984, 98 Stat. 3335), with effect as provided in sections 913 and 914.

Public Law 100-159[edit]

Nov. 9, 1987, 101 Stat. 899.

  • Added the last sentence of paragraph (a)(2).

Treaties and proclamations[edit]

The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPS") annexed to the Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization, done at Marrakesh on April 15, 1994, affords protection to mask works as per clause (a)(1)(A)(ii) (section 6 of Part II of the agreement). The TRIPS Agreement entered into force with respect to the United States on January 1, 1995.

Proclamation 6780 of March 23, 1995, was made under paragraph (a)(2): it extends protection under this chapter to members of the World Trade Organization (current and future) with effect from January 1, 1996.

As of November 2006, the United States is not a party to the Treaty on Intellectual Property in Respect of Integrated Circuits ("IPIC Treaty"), which has itself not come into force.