Google just received a designpatent for Google Search’s homepage. It took the US Patent Office over five years to approve this patent (D599,372) for the design of a “graphical user interface for a display screen of a communications terminal,” but Google’s request was finally approved yesterday. The company already owned a patent for its search results pages. In addition, Google also received a patent for a server-based spellchecker yesterday, as well as another one for “collaborative web page authoring.”
We don’t assume that Google will soon start a patent fight with Yahoo over this, but Yahoo Search’s current homepage obviously looks quite similar to Google’s, though without the two prominent button’s underneath the search box. We are obviously not lawyers, but as far as we know, design patents are basically just a form of making sure the design of a functional item is protected and not so much an acknowledgment that this is a completely new invention. Design patents have to be for a new designs though, and we just have to wonder if somebody else didn’t offer a similarly minimalist search interface before Google.
Tip of the hat to Ryan Tate at Gawker for first noticing this patent.