Google wins patent for search results page design

by admin December 14, 2006 at 5:57 am

The design of Google’s search results page earned U.S. patent protection this week, bringing the total number of patents held by the search giant to some three dozen.

Design Patent No. 533,561, awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Tuesday, covers “the ornamental design for a graphical user interface” as shown in several screen shots of the Mountain View, Calif.-based company’s search results pages.

The screen shots depict lists of the company’s search results, with blocks of news-related and sponsored advertising links at the top. A graphic of the word Google, spelled out with multiple o’s corresponding to the number of pages of search results returned, is centered at the bottom of the page.

According to Patent Office records, Google applied for the patent on March 26, 2004, not long before it filed to go public.

Some critics were quick to pounce on the patent award as yet more evidence that software patents have spiraled out of control.

But the patent procured by Google isn’t actually a software patent, intellectual property attorneys explained. It’s a design patent, which means it covers only the visual look of an invention, as opposed to a “utility” patent, which covers the functions an invention performs.

Full article: CNET