OTTAWA--Canada's parliament is considering legislation aimed at giving its computer industry better intellectual property protection for the designs upon which integrated circuits are based.

The bill is "designed to attract research and investment in the Canadian integrated circuit industry, promote trade, and prevent piracy," says Harvie Andre, acting consumer and corporate affairs minister, who introduced the measure.

"The new legislation will create a better climate for investment: When you're not fearing piracy you will be more likely to want to invest in research," says Joanne Danielle of the consumer and corporate affairs department. "The new law would also provide more security for researchers."

Although Canada accounts for less than 1% of total worldwide production of semiconductor chips, the industry is considered vital to the country's ability to compete in today's high-tech world. Some 25 Canadian companies design or produce chips, either directly for sale or for use in their own...

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