The Indian patent office has refused to grant a patent to Google for its claimed invention relating to a system for efficiently identifying and removing obsolete data from the database of a directory information provider.
The patent office refused to buy Google’s argument that the invention was novel because the system identifies the contact information which have not been accessed or serviced over a ‘pre-fixed’ time and removes those contact information from the database.
Yogesh V Bajaj, assistant controller of patents & designs, Mumbai, while rejecting the company’s argument that the invention was novel and patentable, said the claims of the patent relate to mere automation and do not involve technical means. The patent office pointed out that the subject matter relates only to computer per se and algorithm and falls under the category of business method, which is non-patentable.
“The applicant in its reply mentions of different hardware components used for implementation of the method. The steps of storing and then subsequently comparing the data are obvious steps done by conventional hardware, and hence are not allowed under Section 3(k) of Patents Act,” the assistant controller said.
Refuting the objections raised by the patent office, Google, however, submitted that their invention discloses a system for identifying and removing obsolete data in the directory information provider’s database using directory, network servers and indirect social networks.
The system could be implemented using physical tangible machine components and it efficiently solves technical problems encountered while maintaining and updating directory server. According to the company, the claims are not limited to policies and analysis that are carried out only at an administrative and management level.
“Rather, the claims are directed to a system for database verification and updating, which was previously only done with significant human intervention. Thus, the amended claim comprises technical features which are carried out by technical means and contribute to an inventive step,” Google argued.
According to a patent document filed by the company, the system involves interconnection of different components, including network server, directory server, user devices, internet network and data base of the social network to produce a novel technical effect. Each of the network servers and user devices comprise various configurations and protocols. The communication between the various components is facilitated by devices which are capable of transmitting data to and from other computers through modems, routers, switches, gateways, local exchanges, networks and wireless interfaces, it said.
Google further said that the invention does not fall under the category of business method as the contact details record maintained in the directory database are not particularly associated with businesses contact details, but also contains records of individuals, agencies, private and government entities. As per the company’s contention, accessing of the contact details from the directory server does not involve revenue, credits, coupons or any other innovative ways related to revenue generation.