Google has been granted a design patent by the United States Patent and Trademark Office for its webpage Google.com. Its Design Patent No.599,372 was originally filed on March 6, 2006.
Despite taking many years to approve, the renowned simple design of the homepage was innovative enough to warrant a patent. The design itself contains a single image, a search box, two buttons below and several links scattered around that.
However, Google’s homepage has since undergone several design changes. For example, the category links are now located at the top of the home page. It is to be seen how these changes will affect the validity of the patent.
The potential implications of the patent are numerous. Depending on how vigorously Google enforce the patent, new comers to the search engine field may find it difficult to create their own internet search engine. At the heart of Google’s new patent is the protection of a simplistic search engine. This may force people to develop a more cluttered or complicated interface. Google’s current rivals may also find the new patent troubling; Yahoos current page follows a similar layout to the protected design. The power behind the patent may force others to challenge its validity.