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Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC v. Assistant Controller of Patents and Designs

Updated: Apr 29



Recently, in the case of Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC (“Appellant”) v. Assistant Controller of Patents and Designs (“Controller”), the Madras High Court overturned the refusal of the Appellant’s patent application, 1783/CHENP/2012. The Controller had refused to grant the patent on the ground that the claimed invention would be obvious to the person skilled in the art.

 

The Appellant argued that its invention is one which simplifies accessing sensor data into software by proposing a lightweight messaging system, and the Controller's rejection was without proper analysis of the inventive step.  On the other hand, the Controller argued the claimed invention and prior art were essentially similar, differing only in terminology. The Controller further claimed that the differences highlighted by the Appellant were insignificant and did not constitute an inventive step.

 

The court highlighted a two-step process for assessing inventive step. First, identifying any features that involve technical advancement or economic significance, or both; and second, determining whether the invention is non-obvious to a person skilled in the art (“PSITA”). In this case, a PSITA would be a software engineer with an understanding of hardware/computer electronics. Further, the court stated that the claimed invention required ingenuity beyond mere skill in the art, as the prior art did not suggest or motivate the PSITA towards the claimed invention. Therefore, the court allowed the patent application to proceed to grant and set aside the refusal order. However, the court suggested amendments in the independent claims to confine the scope of the monopoly claim.

 

Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC v. Assistant Controller of Patents and Designs, [(T)CMA(PT) 71/2023, Madras High Court, Judgement dated February 28th, 2024.]

 

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