Regarding software patents, its effect is to replace the following clause, introduced in the Patents (Amendment) Act 2002, specifying as excluded subject-matter:
It is not yet clear how these changes would affect the Rules for Software Patentability in the Indian Patent Office's Manual of Patent Practice and Procedure.
The ministry says that the ordinance is needed for implementing TRIPs requirements, for "adapting to the practice of our major trading partners", for "harmonising the practice of regional patent offices". While the ministry says that the software industry needs patents, it claims that these "only cover software products, not the algorithms as such", or even "only embedded software" (i.e. software "embedded" in a general-purpose computer). Nath's patent officials seem to have learnt the whole European repertoire of tricks and lies.
The ordinance enters into force on 2005-01-01, but lapses automatically on 2005-07-01 unless it gains parliamentary confirmation. The question of product patents for drugs, apparently without any of the flexibilities made allowable under the WTO Doha round, has raised particular widespread concern, especially among the Left and Communist parties, the partners of Nath's Congress party in the governing coalition. The issues are therefore still very much up for grabs; discussion of them in the Indian parliament will probably resume in February 2005.
|2004-12-27||Sify.com: Patents Bill to benefit software companies (Software per se was excluded; we felt this meant if software has technical character, it can be patented, but patent office practice was not uniform; this called for a clarification)|
|2005-01-01||New Kerala: India adopts 'embedded software' patents|
|2004-12-31||The Statesman: PATENT LAWS - Developing Countries Suffer The Most|
|2004-12-29||Law.com/AP: Facing WTO Deadline, India Struggles With Patent Reform (good for procedural overview)|
|2004-12-28||Business Standard: Patents edict to push drug, IT exports: Nath|
|2004-12-28||The Financial Express: Patent ordinance eases processing, removes exclusive marketing rights|
|2004-12-28||DeepikaGlobal.com: India changes patent law through Ordinance|
|2004-12-27||Slashdot: India Quietly Introduces Software Patents|
|2004-12-27||New Kerala: Patent law protects public interest: Kamal Nath|
|2004-12-27||The Hindu: Product patent regime 'will not lead to higher drug prices'|
|2004-12-27||Press Information Bureau: Kamal Nath' statement on the ordinance relating to patents|
|2004-12-27||Press Information Bureau: Indian government says introduction of new patent regime opens vast opportunities|
|2004-12-27||Business Standard: Left for pruning patent list before GoM|
|2004-12-27||The Hindu Business Line: Changes in Bill to give patents for software|
|2004-12-27||Rediff.com: Ordinance kicks in product patents regime|
|2004-12-25||Business Standard: Patents edict likely next week|