Before getting into the details of the topic itself, let us know what is meant by an invention. According to the Indian patent Act, 1970 section 2(j), an invention is a creation by the inventor keeping his effort and time to solve a technical issue that will benefit the public and disclosed by the patent-government officials by following the rules that are mentioned.

In general, a new invention is patentable when they fall into the following criteria. The criteria are novelty, inventiveness/non-obviousness, and industrial applicability depending upon its economic jurisdictional growth individually. Suppose, India has a certain set of rules which may be different from the US and UK. So, these sections differ and some may have similarities to other laws in different jurisdictions. Likewise, the inventions which do not possess the following criteria are non-patentable as defined in section 3 and section 4 of the above Patents Act.


  • Frivolous inventions or contrary to natural laws, u/s 3(a):

Something which is frivolous and does not rely on natural laws something which goes against the idea of gravity would be considered to be frivolous or contrary to a natural law that would not be patentable.

Acts against public morality are also not patentable under the Indian jurisdictions so something whose inventions may harm human, animal, or plant life that is non-eco-friendly cannot be patentable.

Suppose anyone making a machine for counterfeit money that would go against the morality of jurisdictional that would not be patentable, likewise, maybe a technology to adulterate food, and gambling methods would not be patentable these are some of the examples which are against public morality.

A Mere discovery is also not patentable discovery is something which is already existing in nature when you discovered It.

For example, Columbus discovered America but he couldn’t invent anything. For the Germans, it was a discovery. But, for Indian Americans, it was not a discovery. Because the tribals were already living there and it was their land. To them, it was not a discovery because they already knew it.

  • Discovery of an already existing or known material, u/s 3(d):

Finding out something that is already existing which is like any sea creature after a hurricane and material, process, or new technique but the components or substance already exists and discovered from that existing elements is not an invention unless any new inputs are added to it.

One instance where the above provision is met in the case of Novartis Ag vs Union Of India & Ors

If the mere addition of acid or base and the addition of different components which already exist are not patentable. We get this objection a lot from the pharma industries, especially for medicines, that it is a mere admixture.

Explanation:  If you are adding x and y and getting z it would not get a patent because both the elements are already existing but in certain cases, you can show that there are some distinct properties added that will help in curing multiple diseases then it would be protected where a simple collaboration of x and y, and output z won’t work.

  • Arrangement, re-arrangement, or duplication, u/s 3(f):

Arrangement of any objects by rearranging them in different orders duplicating the already existing machine or devices then it would not be protected.

For example, an already existing car or any machine changing its wheels or engine from left to right and front to back won’t work. Unless adding different components or techniques to it.

  • Agriculture and horticulture methods, u/s 3(h):

No one goes with filing for patents in the field of agriculture and horticulture. But, some people do and any method which helps in this is not patentable subject to matter jurisdiction. Because if we start monopolizing such inventions of enriching the soil of any plant or process and are given patent rights, it would become very expensive and not available for common farmers so these methods are not granted.

  • Medical and other therapies for treating diseases in humans and animals, u/s 3(i):

In general, the therapies are not patentable because if anyone goes through the treatment process and wants to get a patent, then it would become more and more expensive not only for some people but also for animals. Considering this, only medicines are patentable to make them economically available but not therapies or treatments.

  • Essential biological processes for the production of animals and plants, u/s 3(j):

Plans 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;

  • Mathematical theorems or computational methods or business methods or algorithms, u/s 3(k):

The computer programs all fall under the ambit of section 3(k) of non-patentability. There is nothing which adds on there is no technical problem or technical solution there is no technical nature of any work being done which is why they are not considered.

  • A literary, artistic, dramatic, or musical work, u/s 3(l):

The artistic, literary, music, story, cinematography, and choreography all have come under the IP of the Copyright Act, of 1957 they are not patentable. Instead, they are copyrighted.

  • Methods, rules, and schemes for performing a mental act, u/s 3(m):

Same as section 3(k), these performances are not patentable because they do not have any technical process all those are done by performing the humour of mental acts playing brain games like chess, puzzles, and sudoku, etc. are not inventions

Presenting any information or data through an oral or graphical way of explaining something is again no technical invention, as flow charts, pie charts, or tabular form something that would not get a patent.

  • The topography of integrated circuits, u/s 3(o):

Different topographies are not patentable like semiconductors, electronic circuits, and integrated circuits which are three-dimensional, used in microchips that are not patentable.

In the name itself, we know that traditional knowledge like turmeric and neem processes is used to cure some diseases. It is already there since the past from different generations, known for its antiseptic properties and also it is a different set of IPs.

  • Inventions related to atomic energy, u/s 4:

According to section 4 of non-patentable inventions, inventions related to atomic energy are not patentable because it is destructive. This provision also falls under sub-section (1) of section 20, Atomic energy Act, 1962.


To summarise, the basic eligibility of a patent includes three criteria novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. Without these criteria, the patent would not get granted and the Indian patent Act has embedded great inputs and innovations that are being protected in such a manner as well as the inventions that are non-patentable under sections 3 and 4 of the Indian patent act where the mere discovery or scientific theory cannot be patented. Artistic, dramatic, and literary works are also not patentable as well. They are copyrighted and natural laws that already exist by themselves are not patentable, performing a mental act by playing logical games is also not patentable and treatment for humans and animals also not patentable where it should be economically available to lower-income people these are the provisions included under The Patent act, 1970.

Author(s) Name: Harika (Sri Padmavathi Mahila Viswavidyalayam, Tirupati)

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