The Indian Patent office (IPO) had earlier issued guidelines on
21 August 2015 to Patent Examiners relating to the examination of
computer related inventions (CRIs). Subsequently, the IPO vide its
order dated 14 December 2015 abruptly kept these guidelines in
abeyance. On 19 February 2016, the IPO passed an order issuing
revised guidelines for the examination of CRIs.
Similar to the earlier guidelines, various technical
terminologies in relation to CRIs have been defined by relying upon
either the Information Technology Act 2000 or general dictionary
meanings. The guidelines further elaborate on the sufficiency and
types of disclosures required for CRIs. The guidelines also set out
fifteen illustrative examples of claims which are not patentable.
However, no examples of patentable claims have been provided.
Further, as per the guidelines, while examining CRIs, the focus
of the Patent Examiner should be on the underlying substance of the
invention and not the particular form in which it is claimed. The
claims should be properly construed and the actual contribution of
the claim must be identified. If the contribution lies only in a
mathematical method, business method or algorithm, the claims are
to be denied. However, if the contribution lies in the field of
computer programmes, the following tests should be applied:
If the claims are in conjunction with
novel hardware, the Examiner should proceed to other steps to
determine the patentability of the invention;
If the contribution lies solely in
the computer programme, the claim should be denied; and
If the contribution lies in both the
computer programme as well as the hardware in question, the
Examiner should proceed to the other steps involved in assessing
These guidelines seem to be another attempt by the IPO to
streamline the examination of patent applications in the field of
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