Microsoft fails to get patent for e-mail management system

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Updated: May 17, 2016 8:16:49 AM

The patent office rejected Microsoft’s application on the grounds that the subject matter was not patentable as it fell under Section 3 (k) of the Indian Patent act, 1970

microsoft-reu-LAccording to a patent document filed by Microsoft, the invention pertains generally to computer networks and more particularly to methods for communicating between client and server communications such as e-mail applications. (Reuters)

The Indian patent office has refused a patent to technology giant Microsoft Corporation for its claimed invention regarding a system and method for improved client server communications, with main focus on managing the e-mail applications much more effectively.

The patent office rejected Microsoft’s application on the grounds that the subject matter was not patentable as it fell under Section 3 (k) of the Indian Patent act, 1970. According to that Section, those inventions which come under categories such as mathematical or business method or a computer programme per se or algorithms are not patentable.

Shriman Asthana, assistant controller of patents & designs, Delhi, observed that as such the invention pertains to computer networks and a method of communication between client computer and its server computer using e-mail application, indicating some software programming.

The assistant controller said that in the recently published guidelines for examining the computer related inventions, one of the test indicators is that if the contribution lies in the field of computer programme check whether it is claimed in conjunction with a novel hardware.

“Now in this case, receiving accessing, retrieving and returning of the information data can easily be construed to be a normal communication between the e-mail server and client computer, both being part of the software. No novel or specific hardware is used to implement the claimed method, Therefore, I am of the opinion that the change has been taken place in the software part and the effect is also limited to the software, the said contribution lies solely in the computer programme,” the assistant controller said.

According to a patent document filed by Microsoft, the invention pertains generally to computer networks and more particularly to methods for communicating between client and server communications such as e-mail applications. E-mail systems typically include a server component (example Microsoft Exchange Server) and a client component (example Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Outlook Express). These components are typically software applications that are configured to execute on computing devices such as servers, PCs and laptops. Often, in order to facilitate communications a client and server agree on a communication protocol. The protocol sets out the rules defining the expected behaviour of each party during communication.

The company submitted that the invention is directed to an improved protocol which has particular relevance to an email server environment. The e-mail network utilises the requests and responses to pass queries and data between client and server components in the network.

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