The Indian Patent Office, after extensive consultative process, has issued an Order by which Chapter 08.03.05.10 of the Manual of Patent Office Practice and Procedure (MPPP), containing provisions pertaining to section 3(k) of the Patents Act, 1970, will stand deleted and replaced by the provisions of the new Guidelines, for examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs), with immediate effect.
The Guidelines, while outlining the legal provisions related to CRIs, extensively demonstrates what ‘Patentable Subject Matter’ means and what parameters are used by the Office to determine applicability of said subject matter. It goes on to define several terms that have not been defined previously in the Manual or the Act/ Rules, as the case may be. The definitions may be used for reference while drafting applications pertaining to Computer Related Inventions. The Guidelines also illustrates, through examples, what types of claims are considered patentable and what types aren’t. For more information, the Guidelines may be viewed here.
Section 3(k) of the Indian Patents Act, 1970 mainly pertains to –
…a mathematical or business method or a computer programme per se or algorithms;
In other words, one can conclude that the Indian Patent Office has slightly eased its stance on Software related patent applications, bringing to the fore what can be considered patentable, while looking at the invention as a whole. While software per se does not receive any more favour than previously, (novel) hardware; (novel) software tied to (novel) hardware; and (novel) software with a known hardware affecting the functions or performance of the known hardware, are given a more comprehensive look.