It has been possible to protect three-dimensional structures in the field of semiconductors as topographies since 1993. This is a separate IP right. The exact requirements and term of protection are set out in the Topographies Act (TopoA) (in German).
Semiconductor topographies can be registered with the IPI. The topography will be registered if the application documents are correct in accordance with Art. 14 TopoA and the application fee has been paid. The term of protection for a registered topography is usually 10 years (Art. 9 TopoA).
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Applying to register a topography is simple: submit an application form (German (doc), French (doc) and Italian (doc)) containing the necessary details along with documentation identifying the topography, and pay the required fee. The examination is a mere formality. The topography itself is not examined.
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Roundtable on the protection of computer-implemented inventions