“The IT majors made their opposition clear at a meeting in Delhi, called by the government’s department of industrial policy & promotion on Thursday. The dispute has been sparked by the draft manual that will guide patent examiners in their interpretation of the Indian Patent (Amendment) Act for software. Section 3(K) of the Act clearly says: “A mathematical or business method or a computer programme per se or algorithms are not patentable.”
Business aptly seems to drive law; finally, the Murthys and Ramadorais of Bengalooru have spoken up. According to an article in the Financial Express, IT majors Infosys and TCS have reacted strongly to a call made by the open source community, particularly Red Hat India and All India Peoples Sciences Network, for dropping a clause in the draft patent examination manual which according to the latter gives a backdoor entry for software patents. The article states:
But the draft examination manual gives scope for patent examiners to grant patents where none is allowed for software under the law. Even the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), representing the software associations and the law firms, arguing that a strong intellectual property regime in India would give the Indian software industry the impetus to evolve into product-related research & development model.”
Companies like Infosys want software patents along the entire software value chain from source code to software embedded in hardware; the IP head of Infosys, Pinaki Ghosh, feels that systems as well methods should be patentable. But opposition from Red Hat may give pause to any such possibility. The arguments for and against software patents aside, one doesn’t see how the draft manual or even the manual come into picture when they do not carry the force of law. For more details on the position of Indian law on software patents, here are the earlier posts on the issue in SpicyIP.