Apple’s patent applications range from innovations around using biometrics to authenticate payments to securely transferring payment to a device such as a point of sale device. The move points at the company preparing to bring its Apple Pay service to India, following rivals Samsung and Google which have also begun working on the same.
Apple Pay is the company’s proprietary system for making payments using Apple devices in stores, within app and even on web. In US, Apple Pay work with all major credit and debit card provider.
Move for Patent Application
Both Apple and Facebook move to apply for patent relating to digital payments comes despite India’s stand on not allowing patent on software, unless paired with hardware in innovative way.
“The law in India clearly states that software is intrinsically not patentable. The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Patents had very clearly said that software as such is not intended to be granted patents. In 2005, a move to amend the Patent Act such that it allows software to be patented , was rejected by parliament on the grounds that it could lead to monopoly of MNCs,” says Venkatesh Hariharan, member of iSPIRT’s expert group on software patents. “Given this legislative history, we believe that the Indian Patent Office (IPO) must uphold the will of the Indian Parliament, and reject these patents”
Grant may hurt other payment platforms
If Apple and Facebook patent are granted it could hurt homegrown digital payment firms such as Paytm, Mobiwik, Free recharge. The success of these firms is not forcing large global technology companies to get into a game. Indian firms such as Paytm have been able to grow a massive proportion in relatively short period of time as they have not faced too many restrictions apart from the forward looking regulations the reserve bank of India has put in place.
“Even in the US, which had the most permissive regime for software patents, a series of court judgments in the last few years have drastically curtailed the scope for patenting software. Almost 38 percent of patent litigation in the US is around software, because it is difficult to draw boundaries around abstract ideas like software. If the Indian patent office takes a clear stance on this topic, we can avoid making the same expensive mistakes that countries like the US have made in this area.” added Hariharan.