Refers to Semiconductor Chip Topography Protection, a widely adopted form of copyright-like protection for the design of the circuitry on semiconductor devices. Such circuitry is etched using a photolithographic process in which the negative is known as a mask. In principle it used to be easy to uncover the circuitry of a microchip, photograph it, and create a new mask. However, by the time maskwork laws were enacted in most countries, this type of crude copying was no longer practical due to the shrinking size of circuits and the use of multilayered circuitry.

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