SFLC.in, along with several civil society organizations and citizens, penned a joint letter to the Prime Minister of India on September 15, 2015 expressing concerns over the "Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs)" issued by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks on August 21, 2015.
Despite being intended to further foster uniformity and consistency in the examination of patent applications relating to CRIs, the 2015 Guidelines make way for the patenting of mathematical and business methods and computer programs, which until now was prohibited under Section 3(k) of the Patents Act, 1970 for the specific purpose of preventing monopolies and fostering innovation. The present Guidelines, by allowing patents in these areas, pose a significant threat to Indian industry and innovation, and could greatly undermine the Government's "Make in India" initiative.
An amendment to Section 3(k) proposed under the Patents (Amendment) Bill, 2005 had previously attempted to broaden the scope of patentability in computer programs, but was defeated due to protests in Parliaments over its potential to create monopolies by multinationals. This demonstrates a clear legislative intent against broadening the scope of patentability under Section 3(k), as is done by the 2015 Guidelines.
It is therefore necessary to initiate urgent steps to recall the 2015 "Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs)", and to ensure that any future guidelines on this subject are in tune with the legislative intent.
A copy of the joint letter is available here.