Google homepage awarded US patent

Google has received a patent in the US for the design of its famously minimalist homepage, but it won’t apply here.

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.

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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.

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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.

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