In a setback to Facebook, the Indian Patent Office has refused a patent to the social networking site’s ‘invention’ on method and apparatus for a crawler application in the country.
The ruling said the crawler was not patentable under various sections of the Patent Act as it lacked an inventive step. A crawler is a programme that searches the internet for video and media files, multimedia streaming services and other information to create entries for a search engine index.
The patent application was filed in 2007, titled method and apparatus for an application crawler by patent agent Lex Orbis on behalf of Truveo Inc, which was later assigned to Facebook.
Rejecting the application, V Saravanan, assistant controller of patents & designs, Delhi, ruled that the claims were not allowable under Sections 2(1)(j), 3(k) and 10(4) of the Patents Act, 1970. He observed that the claims were not clear and the lack of any hardware limitations throughout the claims itself served as the fact the alleged invention lay only in the software or algorithm, which could be implemented by means of any conventional computer system or processor.
The assistant controller further said that the claimed method merely illustrated the methodology to create a searchable database and crawl objects in the object space or object model of a document or application, particularly on the Internet which is achieved by mere software means.
“Thus from the claims, it is understood that mere computer programming instructions/ software performed by the processor are being claimed in the form of method steps and, hence, the method claim is not allowed under section 3(k) of the Patents Act,” the assistant controller said.