The Indian Patent Office has refused a patent to Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC for its ‘invention’ related to evaluating an electronic document retrieved by a search engine, citing that the claimed invention was not patentable under various sections of the Indian Patent Act.
The matter relates to a method for evaluating an electronic document using external data to prevent a deliberate manipulation by the creator of an electronic document to mislead a search engine into giving an undeservedly high rank to the electronic document.
Refusing the application, the patent office ruled that the invention lies only in the software or algorithm which can be implemented by means of any conventional computer system or processor.
V Saravanan, assistant controller of patents & designs, Delhi, observed that the claims were not clear in view of what hardware features these steps are being enabled to make the method functional, as required under Section 10(4) of the Patents Act, 1970.
“The very lack of any hardware limitation throughout the claims, as well as description and illustrations, itself serves as the fact the alleged invention lies only in the software or algorithm which can be implemented by means of any conventional computer system or processor. Thus, from the claims, it is understood that mere computer programming instructions or software performed by the processor are being claimed in the guise of method steps and hence the claims are not allowed under Section 3(k) of the Patents Act,” he said.
Microsoft had filed the patent application titled search engine spam detection using external data in 2005. The name of the applicant has been changed to Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC on February 17, 2015.