Discussion

1. Figure I.25 is an example of "chip graffiti." The photolithographic processes that are used to build up integrated circuits may be used in the creation of a variety of artistic figures that chip designers sometimes include on chip space that would otherwise be unused. What types of intellectual-property protection can you see being asserted for chip graffiti? Can you think of any practical reasons why it might be beneficial to include chip graffiti on chips? How do those reasons apply to nanotechnology products?

2. The main text suggests that the definition of a "semiconductor chip product" as "intended to perform electronic circuitry functions" may limit the application of mask-work protection to certain types of nanotechnology. Do you agree? Can you think of any way of circumventing this definition to argue that mask-work protection of layouts for microfluidics devices is protectable? One analysis might begin by considering whether it is always possible to discern from a mask work (by itself) whether a fully completed chip fabricated using the mask work will perform "electronic circuitry functions."

3. The United States Constitution specifically names the president to "be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States."49 Who is the commander in chief of the Air Force? Why? What interpretive principles did you apply in coming up with your answer? If you apply those principles to the question, "Is the patterned layout of a microfluidics device a mask work?" what answer do you give? Do you think these two questions are properly analogized? Why or why not?

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