Google patents it’s search results layout

December 14, 2006

I find this a little strange (personally). Google have been awarded a patent of their search results screen layout. Details along with screenshots can be found on this PDF.

It begs the question, what else can you patent? Most sites (at least decent ones) strive to have their own identity and layout, so they could I suppose patent them, but how far can you take it?

One of the beautiful things about the internet is the collaborative nature of developers, especially in the XHTML/CSS field. So now, if you come up with a new multi-column layout, instead of posting it for others to see and re-use you could patent the layout and charge royalties for others to use it?? A bit extreme perhaps, but it does worry me that when people start patenting design features it could get people nervous and make them patent theirs.

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