Monday, July 18, 2011

Patents for Software in India

The Indian Patent Office does not allow patenting of software-related inventions. Given the size of the Indian software industry, what is the opportunity cost of such a stance?

According to the Economist, WIPO data shows that between 2003-07, USA topped the list for business-software patent applications at around 33,000, followed by Japan (!) at 26,000, South Korea (12,000), Germany (4000) and China (3000).

The Indian IT software and services industry has been pitching for patenting of software embedded with hardware arguing it would help increase commercial value of domestically developed software and augment exports. The counter argument is software processes are just mathematical algorithms  that do not qualify as inventions.

Ironically, even those who favored the counter argument would have sent each other congratulatory messages using patent-fee-paid software...

  • Economist (2011): INNOVATION IN JAPAN: SAMURAI GO SOFT, The Economist, 14 Jul 2011 -
  • FE (2011): Software patents under Ordinance face reversal, Financial Express, 29 March 2005-
  • Ruby - A Programmer's Best Friend -

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