Are computer programs patentable in India? Yes, patents software are patentable in India. The country is open to any medium that can help patent computer software. This article will discuss the key factors to consider when seeking patent protection for software. It will also look at revocation of 2017 guidelines issued by the Indian Patent Office and what software must have before it can be patented in India. Let’s start by examining the Inventive Step requirement for software. Then, we’ll examine Industrial Applicability. Finally, we’ll look at the different ways you can get your software patented in India.

Getting A Software Patent

Getting a software patent in India is becoming an increasingly popular option, with software-related inventions often attracting large investment. But patenting software requires extensive research and an understanding of the patent application process. An applicant must clearly describe their invention, stating the ways that it is better than existing solutions. Objects, diagrams, flowcharts, and other representations of their invention can help the examiners understand the technology behind the idea.

Section 3k of the Patents Act sets a high hurdle for applicants wishing to apply for a software patent in India. Despite patent office guidelines, many courts in India have held that computer programmes are not patentable on their own. To receive a patent, software must also show a connection to hardware and a technical effect. However, this requirement is not as high as it seems and is more complicated than most people realize.

A software patent protects computer programs and performance. A software patent protects the code of a programmer but does not prevent others from copying it. A patent, on the other hand, grants the owner of a piece of software the right to protect its creation from piracy. Getting a software patent in India can help protect your creation against other companies or even the public. In addition to protecting your work, you will also benefit from a patent’s long-term value.

There are many ways to get a software patent in India, and one of the most efficient is to leverage online patent databases. Patent search databases contain a variety of information about patented software. Search results can include keywords in abstract text, specifications, and patent title, as well as global patent classification numbers. This step will help you identify whether your idea is unique and how much protection you need. When you have a unique and compelling idea, patent-worthy protection is likely to result.

Not Patentable Per Se

In a patentable computer program, the inventor must show a connection to hardware and a technical effect to obtain a patent. The Patents Act, 1970, does not define “per se” as a specific term.  Thus, the question of whether a computer program is patentable must be resolved on a case-by-case basis.

Generally, software that is part of a new invention is patentable. It must be unknown to the public, i.e., have not been disclosed in a publication, or be in use anywhere in the world prior to the filing date of the patent application. In addition, the drafting of a patent application must follow certain substantive and formal standards, as the use of the correct language can greatly affect the results.

The government has recently issued guidelines that remove ambiguities on the question of whether a computer program is patentable. These guidelines can help software inventors gain the intellectual property protection they need to continue their businesses. The Indian government has released these guidelines as a way to ensure that software is not excluded from patent protection.

Patentable software can be tricky to obtain, and there are numerous legal issues to overcome. It must be attached to an industrially useful, novel hardware.

India is an emerging information technology hub, and has a highly developed software industry. Software programmers face losses due to piracy and reverse engineering. Thus, protecting intellectual property becomes essential to ensure the economic interests of innovators. With these steps, software can be patented in India.

Inventive Step For A Software To Be Patented In India

There are certain criteria for patenting software, including an inventive step, new technology, and industrial applicability. These requirements, combined with a relatively short software development cycle, prevent many software developers from applying for patents.

In order to be patented in India, a software invention must meet several requirements. First, it must meet the laws and guidelines related to patenting. Second, it must meet the patentability requirements of the Indian Patents Act. A software patent must also be new and have an “industrial application”. Third, it must overcome the exclusions set forth in Section 3(k), which declares computer programmes and algorithms to be non-patentable subject matter.

Lastly, it must be attached to a novel piece of hardware. This hardware must be an original invention capable of industrial application. India is one of the largest exporters of software and services and boasts an advanced software industry. In spite of the benefits of Indian digitisation, however, many programmers experience loss in their business and suffer from reverse engineering and piracy. Having a patented piece of software protects the innovator’s economic interests as well as promotes creativity.

The defining criteria for software patentability in India are very strict and require special skills for preparing and prosecuting a successful application. Inventive step for a software to be patented in India is a complex process, but it is not impossible. A software patent is a unique invention that requires skill and expertise in the field. So, it is imperative to know the criteria that make a software patent unique.

A software patent application must also be described as a method, process, or system. The software patent application must clearly define the technical advancement that will allow it to achieve its purpose. This is a crucial part of software patent application preparation. Properly written specifications will increase the chances of obtaining a software patent. Once the patent office grants the patent, it will investigate the claims, and publish the invention.

Industrial Applicability Of A Software To Be Patented In India

Industrial applicability is the determining factor for whether software is patentable in India. Unlike other countries, India does not allow the direct patenting of software. Instead, a software patent is only granted when paired with hardware. Such hardware must have a practical, industrial application. A software patent cannot be granted if it is stand-alone and therefore cannot be linked to hardware. Moreover, under Indian patent laws, software cannot be patented if it is not accompanied by novel hardware.

India has an advanced software industry and is among the largest exporters of software. Many young minds are developing new ideas every day. The demand for software patents is increasing globally and in India. However, legal protection of individual creations was only recognized relatively recently. The Patents Act of 1970 and the Patents Rule of 1972 only protected ‘objects’ that are patented. As a result, software should be treated as a routine invention.

The Indian IT industry has an estimated US$ 160 billion in annual revenues, indicating that the country is investing heavily in R&D. While Indian patent law is generally weaker than those of other countries, software developers and engineers should look for judicial precedents to provide more certainty. In addition to providing clarity to the software patent process, judicial precedents can also harmonize the Indian Patent Office procedures. Ultimately, this will foster a better environment for developers and aspiring inventors.

Software and hardware must be complementary to each other. The two should be used in tandem. However, the software should be a part of the hardware to qualify for patentability. In addition, it should have a functional use in a business. This is not possible if it is not integrated with hardware. For example, if a software is used to create a product, the hardware component should be present.

The Indian Patent Office has released a draft guidelines for computer related inventions in 2013. In the guidelines, examiners should look for hardware integration. In general, the computer is not patentable unless it includes hardware. For software to be patentable in India, the hardware must be better than a “general purpose machine”.

The Indian Patent Office has recently issued Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs). These guidelines are aimed at fostering uniformity and consistency in CRIs examination. They also clarify exclusions under section 3(k) of the Indian Patents Act. The new guidelines aim to expedite the examination of eligible CRIs.

Patentability of computer software has long been a contentious issue, as patenting it has benefited established corporations while stunting innovation. The CIS has long advocated against software patentability, and the Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions have taken this into account. The new test was first proposed by CIS in 2010.

The Office of the Controller General of Patents issued revised CRI Guidelines on February 19. These updated guidelines bring the patentability of software innovations into line with the Patents Act 1970, which excludes mathematical methods and business methods. However, computer programmes are still excluded from patentability. The Indian Patent Office’s previous guidelines have sparked a controversy. These guidelines were issued after extensive stakeholder opposition. As a result, the new guidelines may help protect the Indian Software Industry.

The updated CRI Guidelines are also more favorable for patentees. The new rules have removed the requirement of novelty in hardware for method claims involving a new computer program. This change has had an adverse impact on some applicants. The Indian Patent Office recognizes this trend and intends to avoid any problems associated with it. The new CRI Guidelines can help patent applicants achieve greater success in their applications. There are a few major changes to the Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions in India

There are several differences between CRIs and other categories of inventions. CRIs may be claimed as a computer system, software, or a device, whereas a general-purpose computer running a novel program is a computer program. These distinctions are important for patentability, and CRIs are no exception. It is important for applicants to define what makes their CRI claims truly innovative and useful.

The debate over whether or not software can be patented in India continues to heat up. With the software industry expanding, it is increasingly difficult to determine what exactly is an intellectual work and what is protected under copyright laws. While it is not possible to establish a consensus on this issue, some jurisdictions favor patent protection over copyright protection. Software patents in India are a hot topic given the country’s emerging information technology sector, which has undergone an unprecedented spurt in technological development and breakthrough software developments.

The Indian Patents Act, 1970, governs all aspects of patents in the country. As an example, software cannot be patented in India if it is not used with hardware that enables industrial use. In other words, stand-alone software is not patentable in India. Furthermore, there is a provision in Section 3(k) of the Patents Act that disallows software patents without applicability to hardware.

While computer software can be protected under the Copyright Act, the scope of protection is limited. Many inventors prefer patent protection for computer-related creations because it offers stronger protection, since a patent protects the basic concept behind the invention. Patent protection for software inventions in India remains a controversial topic, but the Indian Patent Office has published guidelines for the examination of such applications. In particular, software patents in India must be designed to provide technical solutions for the problem that has been solved by the software.

The court in Lava International Ltd. v Accenture Global Service Gmbh clarified that software patents in India can be granted where a computer program is the main contribution or essence of the claimed invention. Further, the patent must be accompanied by a definite contribution in the field of the invention. The language must be clear and concise to allow courts to judge the patent on substance, not form.

Procedure To File A Software Patent Application

There are many legal requirements to obtain a patent for your software. In India, Section 3(k) lays down the requirements that are necessary for a software patent to be granted. The guidelines do not make it clear enough what constitutes a “technical effect” and how to prove that the software is patentable. A patent can be granted only if it demonstrates a connection to hardware and a technical effect. However, if your software is able to meet the requirements set by the Indian Patent Office, it can be filed.

Software cannot be patented on its own in India, but it can be incorporated into a new invention if it is inventive and competent for industrial use. Another crucial factor that determines whether your software is patentable is its novelty. “New” simply means that it is not in the public domain or state of the art. Thus, before filing a software patent application in India, it is important to perform a thorough search to determine whether or not the subject matter of your invention has already been patented by someone else.

Obtaining Rights with US Software Patent Application

In addition to protecting the Indian market, founders and entrepreneurs should protect their products worldwide.  A big market is the US market and thus many companies are interested in obtaining both US and Indian patents.  Fortunately, language similarity and low patent fees mean that an Indian patent can be quickly and cost-efficiently converted into a US patent application.  Also, the US patent policy on software is more liberal, resulting in many patent applications with Indian inventors thereon.

If you already have an Indian patent application, you just need to get foreign filing permission from the Indian patent office, and then send the patent application to a US patent attorney to edit and file in the US, often at a significant cost discount from preparing the application from scratch.  This needs to be done within one year from the Indian filing date.  Alternatively, you can file PCT within one year from the Indian filing, and within 30 months thereof, you can file in the US claiming priority to the Indian and PCT filing dates.

The US patent act does state, however, that “abstract ideas,” physical phenomena, and laws of nature are not patentable. Whether a specific process falls under the “abstract idea” exclusion is a matter of case law, which is complex and continually changing and so good US patent counsel and help you navigate the maze.

Abstract ideas are often the subject of software patent claims. While software algorithm claims are often categorized as abstract ideas, the Alice test requires them to be based on an inventive concept. An inventive concept is something that is new and different from conventional and well-known activities. It must also constitute a significant improvement over the current state of the art.

In the US, the patentability of software inventions hinges on the ability to avoid the abstract idea trap and focus more on how the software improves computer performance or results in a patented product. Examples of abstract ideas include certain economic practices, mathematical relationships, and human activities. Simply reciting a mathematical formula doesn’t make it an invention. If it doesn’t meet these criteria, it is not a patentable idea. Further, the patentability of business methods is difficult to obtain.

The Freeman-Walter-Abele test was used by US courts for some time. The test looked at whether the claimed invention consists of a mathematical algorithm that performs a function. Similarly, a claim that includes a mathematical formula must also satisfy the requirements of patentable subject matter. While the Freeman-Walter-Abele test is misleading, it is an example of how courts approach patentability.

The Gottschalk and Parker cases are similar. But the Parker case uses a different test. In the Parker case, the patentability of software is determined by whether or not it has an inventive application. The Parker case also relies on the mental steps doctrine.


There are many reasons why software patents should not be allowed in India. First, a software patent will disproportionately benefit minority firms. Second, it will inhibit innovation and hinder development of better software products. Third, it is important to maintain the right to freely use software. However, software patents are not an easy road to take. Thankfully, patent specialists can help guide clients through the entire process. If you’re a software company and want to protect your software against infringement, you should hire a patent attorney.