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Say What? Google Patents Its Home Page

WebProNews is reporting that Google finally scored a patent on its home page--or rather, its "graphical user interface for a display screen of a communications terminal"--this week after a five-and-a-half-year fight. The big question we're asking is why, as the front page is utterly simplistic and doesn't sport any kind of fancy detail or design. In fact, an amateur web designer could probably generate the same output in class, coding the HTML and Javascript by hand.

However, although the newly christened patent seems frivolous, Google now owns the design of a search engine bar planted firmly in the middle of a page, sporting two buttons underneath. This may cause problems for other search engines using a minimalist layout as well, including rival Yahoo. With the patent now in place, Google has the right to sue any search engine using a similar interface.

The New York Post expands the story somewhat, providing additional details in regards to Google's road to patent heaven. According to the site, the US Patent and Trademark Office hesitated on awarding the prized patent due to questions it had in regards to the website's design; the search engine itself granted the "originality" title that earned its golden patent back in 2006. Yet although Google's front page lacks dazzle, sparkle, and all that Flash-laden glory plaguing most Internet sites, the government eventually decided to grant a separate patent, indicating that the page is an innovative "graphical user interface."

Despite the patent, there are questions on whether the design is actually original, that there may be issues regarding prior art designed by another firm using the same layout. "I would question whether the Google home page was entirely original," one blogger even said. It wouldn't be surprising if Google's new patent will be disputed.