Google homepage awarded US patent

Google Patent

Google's homepage, well known for its minimalist design, has received US patent protection.

Last week, the US Patent and Trademark Office awarded Google patent number D599,372, which pertains to a "graphical user interface for a display screen of a communications terminal". The patent has taken five years to achieve, after it was first submitted in March 2004.

The patent refers to the specific layout of page with a logo at the top with a search bar and links underneath. Google's logo already has separate trademark protection.

Many will view the patenting of what essentially amount to a logo and a search bar a difficult one to grasp.

"The US gives patents for strange processes that you wouldn't get over here [in the UK]," Paul Gershlick, an IT lawyer for Matthew Arnold & Baldwin, told IT PRO.

Gershlick said that the patent was related purely to the design and the aesthetics and that in Europe there would need to be some technical innovation to receive a patent.

Even in the US, he said it would be very hard for someone to be affected by the patent as they would have to copy the design almost exactly.

"It's a storm in a teacup," was his final evaluation.

Yahoo's search homepage has a simple search bar and link, but the logo appears to the right, while Microsoft's Bing has its logo on the left on top of an image that changes on a daily basis.

Google UK did not respond to request for comment.

Benny Har-Even

Benny Har-Even is a twenty-year stalwart of technology journalism who is passionate about all areas of the industry, but telecoms and mobile and home entertainment are among his chief interests. He has written for many of the leading tech publications in the UK, such as PC Pro and Wired, and previously held the position of technology editor at ITPro before regularly contributing as a freelancer.

Known affectionately as a ‘geek’ to his friends, his passion has seen him land opportunities to speak about technology on BBC television broadcasts, as well as a number of speaking engagements at industry events.