Patent Software

Software patents are one of the most contentious issues in Intellectual Property Rights. The growing economic significance of computers and computer programs gives software patents this controversial status. It can be noted that after biotechnology patents, it is software patents which really attracts major public discussions on patents. This precisely was one of the reasons for the Indian Parliament to take cautioned steps with regard to software patents, while bringing in amendments to the Patents Act in 2005.
The increasing significance of software patents warrants further discussion about its protection in India. This discussion assumes special significance when we realize that software giants like Microsoft are holding about 6,130 patents till January 2005. As new and new software giants build up their research and develop centers in India we must also think about analyzing the protection given to the software.
A software patent is generally defined as a patent that protects some programming technique. The European Patent Office (EPO) defines a "computer-implemented invention" as an expression intended to cover claims, which involve computers, computer networks or other conventional programmable apparatus whereby prima facie the novel features of the claimed invention are realized by means of a program or programs.
In India an attempt was made through the Patents Amendment Ordinance 2004 to further extend the scope of software patenting to any computer program that has industrial application and to those that are used in combination with hardware. But there was strong opposition within and out side the Parliament and as a result this was deleted from the subsequent Patents (Amendment) Act, 2005.


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