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New examination guidelines declare that software and business methods are patentable in India, clarifying the age-old perception to the contrary, but not everyone is happy, as Abhishek Pandurangi of Khurana & Khurana reports.
In another milestone in an evolving patent system, the Indian Patent Office (IPO) in August released the formal examination guidelines for patent applications dealing with computer-related inventions. The highlight of the guidelines is the first ever official and loud pronouncement that software and business methods are in fact patentable in India, clarifying the age-old perception to the contrary. Like other developments in the Indian patent system, this has been surrounded by controversy, scepticism and celebration by different stakeholders.
The 21-page guidelines start with definitions and statutory interpretations, leading into concrete examples of what can be patentable subject matter governing computer-related inventions. The complete “Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs)”can be accessed here, while the official order for their release can be viewed here.
Making reference to the legislative intent for the expression computer program per se in section3(k) of the Patents Act,1970, the guidelines lay down the premise for illustrating allowable software invention types and examples, while for business method patents the age-old technique of tying them down to a tangible technical feature is notably endorsed. The following are certain verbatim excerpts from the guidelines on those lines:
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Abhishek Pandurangi, Khurana & Khurana, Indian Patent Office, IPO, CRIs, European Patent Office, EPO,