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Apple Pushing Hard for the Digital Payments Markets in India

We already know that Apple has grand plans to boost their sale of iPhones in India. And it seems like they are looking at digital payment services as one of the ways to do so. Reports related to Apple news in India have it that the company has already submitted at least five applications over the past one year with the India Patent Office regarding this. 

India has been pushing for electronic payments as a tool to bring in more people in increasing its tax base and making it into a formal economy. So, the influx of the patent applications is not a surprising thing. In fact last week, social media leader Facebook made a request for the digital wallet to be merged into instant messaging services like WhatsApp and Messenger.

While the big rivals like Samsung and Google were already beginning to work on the digital payments system in India, Apple’s patent points towards a sophisticated innovation in the same. Their recent patent application ranged from novelties around using biometrics to authenticate online payments to securely transferring the amount to another device such as a point of sale device.  

Apple Pay is the company’s proprietary system for making online payments that you can use if you are using their iOS or Mac devices. The service works within apps and also on the internet. Currently, in the US, Apple collaborates with all the main credit and debit card providers. The user’s iPhone will save all the card details securely, and you will be able to use it instead of carrying the physical card. However, as of yet, neither of the firms offered any comment on how they plan to provide the service in India.

India stands on not allowing online payment systems patent only on software unless it is somehow smartly paired with a hardware device. And both Facebook and Apple plans to move towards that direction. The Controller General of Patents, Design and Trademarks last year decided to scrap off the revised guidelines that stated that patents on software would be granted by ‘demonstrating technical advancement’ with the exceptions for devices with software.

A member of iSPIRT's expert group on software patents, Venkatesh Hariharan, previously stated, "The law in India 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 because it could lead to a monopoly of MNCs".  He further said, "Given this legislative history, we believe that the Indian Patent Office (IPO) must uphold the will of the Indian Parliament, and reject these patents." Finally adding, "Software is applied logic, and if logic cannot be patented, how can software be patented?"

There are already many online payment systems that are already operating in the India. Startup firms like Paytm, Mobikwik and Freecharge that have currently taken over the market successfully could face cut throat competition if big players like Facebook and Apple enters the digital payment market. The global technology companies in India are utilising their resources to control IP and give them an edge over the rivals.  

Homegrown firms such as Paytm have been able to grow a massive proportion of around 220 million registered users in a comparatively short period. This success is attributed to the limited restrictions except for some progressive regulations that the Reserve Bank of India has put in place. However, some activists are saying that the patents favour the large global firms that can afford the high cost of filing patents.

Technology companies in the US and Europe have been hoarding the patents have become a huge concern since they fend off competition by legally blocking them instead of innovation. In the recent past, there have been instances when multi-billion dollar patent lawsuits have piled up.

"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 's hard 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 achieved in this area," added Hariharan. We anticipate seeing how this Apple news in India develops in the coming times.
Apple Pushing Hard for the Digital Payments Markets in India Apple Pushing Hard for the Digital Payments Markets in India Reviewed by Kapil Kumar on 1:08 PM Rating: 5