by Barb Dybwad (http://mashable.com/2009/09/02/google-search-patent/)
Intellectual property laws are in place for good reason. But is Google’s iconically simplistic home page interface reason enough?
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appears to think so, although it took them over 5 years to decide the matter. The search giant submitted the patent application for the design of its home page search interface back in 2004 along with the design of its search results pages. The latter was approved in 2006, but the USPTO only finally awarded the former its patent yesterday, reports Gawker.
The patent application contains a single illustration of the familiar Google.com user interface which, as we know, is quite spartan. In other words, Google essentially owns the concept of putting a big search box on top of two buttons and putting some text links nearby.
No one knows exactly how or even if Google () plans to use the patent to go after similar interfaces. But if they chose to, at least Yahoo () and Ask.com would be potential targets. Microsoft’s new Bing () search might be spared thanks to its background image approach and other interface dissimilarities.
Perhaps more likely, Google’s patent will scare away any new startups brave enough to enter the search space against existing towering giants in the first place. They might think twice about borrowing the “keep it simple, stupid” approach of Google.com.