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MICROSOFT TECHNOLOGY LICENSING, LLC VS. THE ASSISTANT CONTROLLER OFPATENTS AND DESIGNS

Updated: Jun 14

Recently, the Delhi High Court allowed an appeal filed by Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC (“Appellant”) and set aside the order of the Assistant Controller of Patents and Designs (“Respondent”) refusing the Appellant’s patent on the ground that it falls in the category of non-inventions under the Patents Act, 1970 (“Act”).


The Appellant had applied for a patent for “methods and systems for authentication of a user for sub-locations of a network location” which was refused on the ground that the invention is merely a set of computer executable instructions or algorithms, constituting “computer programs per se” which is included in the list of non-inventions under Section 3(k) of the Act. Specifically, the Respondent held that the invention is a method for performing two level authentications based on cookies created by a website, which is nothing but a set of instructions.


The court observed that the test under Section 3(k) of the Act for assessing whether Computer Related Inventions (“CRI”) ought to be granted patent is of the technical effects and contributions provided by the inventions, and not just implementation of algorithms and instructions. The court observed that the Appellant’s invention provides a technique for authenticating users for accessing sub-locations on a network, and that its technical contribution is to prevent unauthorized access to sub-locations and improve security. Accordingly, the court set aside the Respondent’s order and directed that the Appellant’s patent application be re-examined on the tests of novelty, inventiveness, and prior art.


Lastly, the court, after analyzing the CRI Guidelines, 2017 and the EUIPO and USPTO’s practices in relation to CRIs, directed the Respondent to consider providing examples of both patent-eligible and non-eligible inventions in the CRI Guidelines. The court noted that such examples would serve as reliable guidance and help with consistency in examination of patents.


Microsoft Technology Licensing, LLC v. The Assistant Controller of Patents and Designs [C.A. (COMM.IPD – PAT) 29/2022], order dt. May 15, 2023

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