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09.07.15

India Shoots Itself in the Foot With Software Patents, Time to Act and Prevent This Worldwide

Posted in Asia, Patents at 4:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Software patents comeback shows that protests in India are needed again

Software patents protest in India

Summary: The disease which is software patents keeps trying to spread while its home country, the United States, is gradually ending software patents

THIS WEEK begins with some bad news. IAM, despite its biases, was right to suggest that patent proponents that push for software patents in India are trying, with some success in fact, to gain legitimacy and change the law.

“Even the highest court in the US ruled against these, by extension.”Based on today’s new article from the corporate media in India: “The Indian Patent Office’s recent guidelines, declaring that software and business methods are patentable in India, has set off alarm bells across the software product industry.

“The patent office for the first time made a clear interpretation of the Patents (Amendment) Act, 2002 to mean that if a software has novelty, is inventive or tangible, and has proper technical effect or industrial application, it can be patented. The guidelines serve as a reference for officers in granting patents. Software product industry experts are against modifying the law to make computer programs easily patentable, arguing that innovation in the area is often incremental and programs are built on top of other programs.”

This is disturbing as it seemingly came out of nowhere. It’s due to lobbying that never stops, for instance in New Zealand this summer [1, 2, 3].

India’s patents and policies on granting any is not as lenient as in Western nations and in fact earlier this morning the same paper (as above) wrote: “The Indian Patent Office has denied American drugmaker Pfizer patents for certain isomers and stereoisomers of tofacitinib, a product it markets globally as Xeljanz for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, in the latest example of a foreign company finding it difficult to patent incremental innovations in the country.”

If India can (famously) grasp the evils on patents like these, why can’t it see that software patents are inadequate? Even the highest court in the US ruled against these, by extension. It makes absolutely no sense for patents like these to spread from the US elsewhere when the US itself is now questioning (and invalidating en masse) software patents.

There is currently some European analysis of Apple‘s software patents in Europe (EPO-steered policies made these possible) and it’s noted that:

It is only in the U.S. — in California, Apple’s home state – that Apple has been able to score wins when it comes to the slide-to-unlock patent. In any case, the scope of the patent is quite limited (it only covers the slide-to-unlock where an image is moved across the screen) and can be worked around (it has been implemented into a multitude of Android devices). It’s hard to ignore the suggestion that Apple made this feature “famous” and most likely forced other smartphone makers to implement distinguishable slide-to-unlock mechanisms. Now people know instinctively what to do to unlock a phone but, at the end of the day, in this case it was not considered that their innovative capabilities were a sufficient reason to limit consumer choice.

Well, on the basis of it being a software patent, this patent ought to have been immediately thrown out. But after Brimelow’s “as such” nonsense (notorious loophole) it often seems as though Europe only pretends to be banning software patents. There are further plans to further legitimise software patents in Europe.

India, New Zealand, and Europe should all fight back against the software patents lobby and make it explicitly clear (without exceptions) that software patents are forbidden. Failing to do this would cause enormous damage to these economies, and moreover welcome patent trolls.

Software patents protest in India

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