Section 3(ka): A Decision on a Patent Application Related to Mathematical Methods

This post was first published on Aug 6th, 2013.
The IPAB (Intellectual Property Apellate Board) issued an order regarding patentability of a patent application which claimed a specific application of a mathematical method.
3624/DELNP/2005 was filed as a National Phase application by Electronic Navigation Research Institute, Japan at the Delhi Patent Office in August 17, 2005 . The patent application relates to a system for analyzing a time series signal by a method based on Chaos Theory and calculating a chaos theoretical exponent value (CTEV) thereof. The patent application claims an application of the method disclosed in the description for analyzing a speech signal.
The Deputy Controller, Delhi Patent Office rejected the application under section 3(ka) stating that the patent application merely claimed a mathematical method and rejected the argument from the applicant that the technical effect claimed (analyzing a speech signal) makes the invention patentable.  The applicant appealed the Deputy Controller’s decision before the IPAB.
The IPAB upheld the order of the Deputy Controller and stated that as per the rulings of the IPAB in Yahoo vs. Rediff (where the IPAB had ruled that an inventive step, which is a technical advance compared to the existing knowledge, would not give the applicant the right to a patent as such, if the subject matter of the inventive step is an excluded subject itself) and UK (United Kingdom) decisions (Symbian vs. Comptroller of Patents (supra); Gameaccount Ltd., T. 543/2006), the patent application is not patentable (hereby agreeing with the decision of the Deputy Controller) as the technical advance was merely a mathematical method and mathematical methods fall under excluded subject matter (under section 3(ka)).
This decision provides further clarity on patentable subject matter and is in line with 3.17 of the recent draft guidelines released by the Indian Patent Office.


  • September 13, 2013 Posted
    yucel yilmaz

    What was questionable in this situation is that every methodical phenomenon can be explained as mathmatical formula. when can we define it as mathmatical theory?

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