New Guidelines for Granting Patents on Computer Programmes: Patent be denied for Standalone Software

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Chennai: In India, patent will not, now, be granted to the mere computer programmes which are not in conjunction with the novel hardware, as found mentioned in the latest guidelines which were released on 19th day of this February, from the office of the CGPDTM- Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks.

The said guidelines are released from the Indian patent Office for its officials to follow, while deciding the applications related to ‘software’ and ‘hardware’ related inventions. Moreover, such guidelines are provided to replace the earlier guidelines (released in 2015). The earlier guidelines were kept in abeyance by the Patent office, following the protest from some of the IT groups.

Moreover, the Patent Office is found agreeing with the Parliamentary Panel which had observed that the computer programmes are not to be granted patent.

As per the new guidelines, which are released for examination of the Computer Related Inventions- CRIs, and in which the examiners are specifically required to rely on the Three- stage test while examining the applications, in which they need to start with the properly construing the claim and identifying the actual contribution.

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Moreover, such new guidelines are now requiring the examiners to deny the claim, when the contribution lies only in mathematical method, business method or algorithm. Also, if the contribution lies both the hardware and computer programme as well, then examiners can proceed to other steps of patentability.

Also, as per the non- profit organisation- Software Freedom Law Centre- SFLC’s Counsel- Prashant Sugathan, he said that the ambiguous guidelines, as those which were published in the year 2015 (August) would have resulted in a patent minefield as in United States. And he further said, in the implication of the New guidelines, the Start- ups and other Software developers will continue to have a freedom for innovating without caring about the litigation and infringement notice in this area.

And as per the advocacy groups opposing Software patent in India, the new guidelines are with expectations for ensuring that the patents applications in the field of software will be rejected and only applications which are claiming a novel hardware component with software will be eligible for patent protection.

Adv. Faim Khalilkhan Pathan

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See the Guidelines: Click Here