Most of the contemporary Indian law shows substantial European influence. Various legislations first introduced by the British are still in effect in modified forms today. Similar trend has been observed in case of patent laws as well. The Indian Patent Laws are found similar to European Patent Laws and distinctly different from the guidelines observed by United States Patents and Trademarks Office. Since the procedure of obtaining a patent remains the same in most countries, itís the patentable subject matter which demarcates Patent laws in different countries.
USPTO patent laws allow the grant of patent to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful 1.process, 2.machine, 3.manufacture, 4.composition of matter, or 5.any new and useful improvement thereof. The definition itself covers a wide range and hence one can obtain a patent on almost any invention irrespective of the domain. On the other hand, in India, laws have quite elaborately described what inventions are not patentable under sections 3 and 4 of the Indian Patent Act. Few of the exceptions in Indian Patent Laws are listed below which are widely accepted in USPTO are listed below.
1. a mathematical or business method or a computer program per se or algorithms. Hence, a simple software or a business method is not patentable subject matter in India whereas these are patentable in US.
2. the mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process results in a new product or employs at least one new reactant.
It indicates that an isomer or a new use of compounds is not acceptable in India. But, in US they are included in the definition of patentable subject matter itself.
3. an invention the primary or intended use or commercial exploitation of which could be contrary public order or morality or which causes serious prejudice to human, animal or plant life or health or to the environment.
4. Atomic energy related inventions (section 4)etc.
Apart from these one of the major differences in two laws is that in US it is the first to invent system. One who invents first would have rights on it.