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An Overview of Software Patenting


The concept of “intellectual property” in India in recent years has taken on epic proportions for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons, due to the increasing awareness of the urban Indian population, is the importance and, more importantly, the commercial benefits of protecting its intellectual property rights, both internally and internally. outside India. And by virtue of the traditional principles of intellectual property protection, patent law encourages scientific research, new technologies and industrial progress. The fundamental principle of patent law is that the patent is granted only for an invention, that is new and useful; said invention must have novelty and utility. The grant of patent then becomes industrial property and is also called intellectual property. And the software is a relatively new beneficiary of patent protection.

The term “patent” has its origin in the term “letter patent”. This expression “letter patent” meant open letter and constituted an instrument under the Great Seal of the King of England which the Crown had addressed to all subjects in dispute in which it granted certain rights and privileges to one or more individuals of the kingdom. It was at the end of the nineteenth century that new inventions in the fields of art, processes, methods or manufacturing processes, machinery and other substances produced by the manufacturers were developed and the inventors are shown very interested in that the inventions made by them not be violated by anyone by copying them or adopting the methods they use. In order to preserve the interests of the inventors, the British rulers of the time promulgated the Indian Patent and Design Act, 1911.

With regard to the patentability of software-related inventions, this issue is currently one of the most controversial topics of debate. Software has become patentable in most countries in recent years (though with restrictions in some countries, including the signatories of the European Patent Convention or EPC) and the number of software patents has increased rapidly.


The term “software” does not have a precise definition and even the software industries do not give a specific definition. But it is basically used to describe all the different types of computer programs. Computer programs are essentially divided into “application programs” and “operating system programs”. Application programs are designed to perform specific tasks on the computer, and operating system programs are used to manage the internal functions of the computer to facilitate the use of the application program.

Although the term “software patent” does not have a universally accepted definition. According to a definition proposed by the Foundation for a free information infrastructure, a software patent is a “patent for any performance of a computer made by means of a computer program”.

According to Richard Stallman, co-developer of the GNU-Linux operating system and developer of Free Software, “Software patents are patents that cover software ideas, ideas that you would use in software development.

Software patents are patents that may be granted to products or processes (including methods) that include or may include software as an important or at least a necessary part of their implementation, namely the form in which they are are put into practice (or used). ) to produce the effect they intend to produce.

Early example of software patent:

On 21 September 1962, a British patent application entitled “A computer designed for the automatic solution of linear programming problems” was filed. The invention related to efficient memory management for the simplex algorithm and could be implemented by purely software means. The patent was issued on August 17, 1966 and appears to be one of the first software patents.

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