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Sections 3 & 4 of the Patents Act, 1970 enlist the non-patentable inventions.

Section 3 reads as follows:

The following are not inventions within the meaning of this Act,

(a) an invention which is frivolous or which claims anything obviously contrary to well established natural laws;

(b) 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;

(c) the mere discovery of a scientific principle or the formulation of an abstract theory [or discovery of any living thing or non-living substance occurring in nature] (But the dividing line between invention and discovery is very thin a lot of it will depend on the projection of the invention);

(d) 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;(Explanation Derivatives of a same substance such as salts, esters, ethers, polymorphs, metabolites, new form particle size and other derivatives of a known substance will be considered as the same substance unless they defer significantly in properties with regards to efficacy)

(e) a substance obtained by a mere admixture resulting only in the aggregation of the properties of the components thereof or a process for producing such substance; (A synergistic admixture is patentable. If the admixture discloses a beneficial new properties not disclosed by the individual ingredients, the same is patentable)

(f) the mere arrangement or re-arrangement or duplication of known devices each functioning independently of one another in a known way;

(g) a method of agriculture or horticulture;(Crop protection chemical and new devices used in agricultural of horticultural operations are patentable)

(h) any process for the medicinal, surgical, curative, prophylactic [diagnostic, therapeutic] or other treatment of human beings or any process for a similar treatment of animals to render them free of disease or to increase their economic value or that of their products;

(i) plants and animals in whole or any part thereof other than micro-organisms but including seeds, varieties and species and essentially biological processes for production or propagation of plants and animals;(New plant varieties can be protected under a different law)

(j) a mathematical or business method or a computer program per se or algorithms;(But if the software is responsible for causing an improved technical effect or improves the efficacy of the existing device, then the technical or the improved device can be patented)

(k) a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work or any other aesthetic creation whatsoever including cinematographic works and television productions;(The same can be protected under the Laws of Copyright)

(l) a mere scheme or rule or method of performing mental act or method of playing game;

(m) a presentation of information;

(n) topography of integrated circuits; (This can be protected under a different law)

(o) an invention which, in effect, is traditional knowledge or which is an aggregation or duplication of known properties of traditionally known component or components.](But an improvement to the traditional knowledge complying with the requirement of novelty, utility and non-obviousness can be a subject matter of Patent)

And Section 4.:

No patent shall be granted in respect of an invention relating to atomic energy falling within sub-section (1) of Section 20 of the Atomic Energy Act, 1962 (33 of 1962)


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