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Sui generis is a Latin phrase describing a law that is “of its own kind or class."

Intellectual property[]

The term sui generis

is used in intellectual property law to describe a regime designed to protect rights that fall outside the traditional copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secret doctrines.[1]

Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984[]

The Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984[2] is a sui generis law for the protection of mask works; it is not part of either patent or copyright laws.

U.S. copyright law[]

Sui generis refers to

[a] Latin phrase meaning “of its own kind.” In the context of the copyright law, it refers to classes of works protected under the statute that do not fall within existing categories of legal protection, such as mask works. . . .[3]


  1. Black's Law Dictionary (8th ed. 2004).
  2. Pub. L. No. 98-620.
  3. Compendium of U.S. Copyright Office Practices, Third Edition, Glossary, at 16.