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Google Doodles awarded patent for 'enticing users to access a website'

Google Doodle patent
If you thought the crazy, Wild West days of the United States Patent and Trademark Office were over... think again! Google has been awarded a patent for its famous Doodles. The application was originally filed in 2001, some three years after Google began using custom logos on its home page.

With the awesomely vague title "Systems and methods for enticing users to access a web site" we can only hope that Google isn't in a particularly litigious mood. Wouldn't such a patent cover animated Flash splash screens? And with the steady rise of HTML5esque Web apps and Web-based add-ons, will their shiny, enticing front pages fall under the auspices of Google's patent?

The USPTO has seen weirder days, though. Sun, the company behind Java, famously ran a contest to see which developer could secure the 'goofiest' patent -- and then there was the time that British Telecom tried to enforce a patent issued in 1976 that apparently gave it ownership of the ubiquitous HTML hyperlink. BT lost that court case, thankfully.

Tags: doodles, google, google doodle, GoogleDoodle, law, patent, uspto, web