The new guidelines for examination of CRI were issued on 19-2-2016. The stated objective is to bring out clarity in terms of exclusions expected under Section 3(k) Patents Act, 1970 so that eligible applications of patents relating to CRIs can be examined speedily. It is also clarified that in case of any conflict between these guidelines and the provisions of the Patents Act, 1970 or the Rules made there under, the said provisions of the Act and Rules will prevail over these guidelines.
As per the guidelines Computer-related inventions (CRI) may be patentable if novel hardware is present or if inventive contribution lies in the combination of hardware and software. A three stage test is suggested whereby the examiners should properly construe the claim and identify the actual contribution, deny the claim if the contribution lies only in mathematical method, business method or algorithm but if the contribution lies in both the computer program as well as hardware, the examiner may proceed to other steps of patentability.