The country’s patent office has come out with fresh guidelines on deciding software patents. As per the new guidelines for examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs), issued from the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks on February 19, the examiners have to rely on a three-stage test in examining CRI applications, starting with properly construing the claim and identifying the actual contribution.
In the new norms, the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks, had knocked off the clauses which were there in the August 2015 version that allowed patenting of those software, which demonstrated technical advancement. It now says that if the contribution lies only in mathematical method, business method or algorithm, deny the claim. “If the contribution lies in the field of computer programme, check whether it is claimed in conjunction with a novel hardware and proceed to other steps to determine patentability with respect to the invention,” it says. “The computer programme in itself is never patentable. If the contribution lies solely in the computer programme, deny the claim. If the contribution lies in both the computer programme as well as hardware, proceed to other steps of patentability,” it added.
This is expected to ensure that the applications for patents in the field of software will be rejected and only applications claiming a novel hardware component along with software will be eligible for patent protection, says the advocacy groups opposing software patent in India.