Google gets a ridiculous patent for Google Doodles

By on March 22, 2011, 4:48 PM
After filing for it nearly 10 years ago (in April 2001), Google has been granted US Patent 7,912,915, which is titled "Systems and methods for enticing users to access a web site." The patent lists Google co-founder Sergey Brin as the inventor of the feature, which is now known as Google Doodles - the custom logos that the company has been putting on its home page to mark special occasions since the year 2000.

Here's the patent's abstract:

A system provides a periodically changing story line and/or a special event company logo to entice users to access a web page. For the story line, the system may receive objects that tell a story according to the story line and successively provide the objects on the web page for predetermined or random amounts of time. For the special event company logo, the system may modify a standard company logo for a special event to create a special event logo, associate one or more search terms with the special event logo, and upload the special event logo to the web page. The system may then receive a user selection of the special event logo and provide search results relating to the special event.

We're having a bit of trouble understanding how Google was granted this patent, but then again the US Patent system is in complete disarray. What is even harder to grasp is how Google will possibly enforce this patent or what it gains from having the IP rights to changing a company logo for special events.

Here are some recent "doodles" as seen on Google's homepage:


Thomas Edison's Birthday Doodle


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Day Doodle





User Comments: 21

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Mizzou Mizzou said:

Wow, it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous. As the article stated, how in the world are you going to enforce something as generic as special symbols for special occassions?

Guest said:

Good for them. Google Doodles is one of the coolest things invented. I wouldn't know half the interesting stuff if it wasn't for Doodles reminding me about them.

Guest said:

Companies have been doing this for years? The American patent system needs sorting out, sounds like its run by a bunch of dicks

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

So, does this mean I cant change my logo on my search engine to match that of a holiday or other special event because Google patent it? Or just that I cant call it "(Search engine name) Doodle"?

I honestly dont understand, can anyone clarify? I read the article, but I'm still confused.

Guest said:

That doesnt make it a patent though, learn what a patent is then comment plz

Cota Cota said:

Getting more stupid every day, Darwin must be suffering in his grave....

Puiu Puiu said:

The most stupid thing i heard. Most respected websites have been changing the logo/header for specials occasions since the beginning of the internet. wtf is the US patent system doing?

Mizzou Mizzou said:

So, does this mean I cant change my logo on my search engine to match that of a holiday or other special event because Google patent it? Or just that I cant call it "(Search engine name) Doodle"?

I honestly dont understand, can anyone clarify? I read the article, but I'm still confused.

Honestly, unless your symbols wind up spelling Google I wouldn't give it a second thought. I don't understand it either, it's entirely too vague to stand up in court and in my opinion Google would have a hard time winning any kind of suit for patent infringement. Personally, I would like to see every web site on the planet start using symbols for any and every special occassion at every possible opportunity.

bonniesmith bonniesmith said:

It's not ludicrous, it's just like everyone else!

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I read the article 'very carefully' to understand wtf this patent is about, but I just couldn't made any headway. This and that 'App Store' patent are exactly the same in my view, too generic and common to be called 'patents' in anyway. To top it all the USPO showed height of stupidity by issuing this patent anyway.

By the have anyone applied for patenting 'how to wipe your bottom* in the most appropriate way' ?

I wonder if someone can get into trouble talking about bottoms on TSF

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Companies have been doing this for years? The American patent system needs sorting out, sounds like its run by a bunch of dicks
Every other institution in America is, why would you expect the patent office be any different?

For example, you needed to use the contraction, "it's", ("it is" instead of "its", (the possessive pronoun). Now I suppose that you're going to say I'm a **** for correcting you.

Mods, how come the guest gets to say "d***",and a member doesn't? That doesn't seem fair. Mebee yo bees scriminatin'

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I read the article 'very carefully' to understand wtf this patent is about, but I just couldn't made any headway. This and that 'App Store' patent are exactly the same in my view, too generic and common to be called 'patents' in anyway. To top it all the USPO showed height of stupidity by issuing this patent anyway.
What I'm missing is WTF this has to do with a patent anyway. Logos, corporate names, trademarks and such, (I thought) would be covered by copyright law. You can't "patent" a song, you can only copyright it. Same goes for a corporate logo or "marca registrada" as they say in Latin America.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Good for them. Google Doodles is one of the coolest things invented. I wouldn't know half the interesting stuff if it wasn't for Doodles reminding me about them.

Wow! you know half of the interesting stuff? I have always wanted to know how many interesting things there are.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

By the have anyone applied for patenting 'how to wipe your bottom* in the most appropriate way' ?

No but they do bring in "experts" to demonstrate such things on "The Today Show".

I wonder if someone can get into trouble talking about bottoms on TSF

Only by virtue of the fact that there isn't really a proper forum to give it all the consideration it deserves. I think we should have a "Personal Hygiene and Flatulence Control" forum, but hey, I don't make the rules.

Wow! you know half of the interesting stuff? I have always wanted to know how many interesting things there are.

Stay Tuned........ I'll have you know I have a bachelor's degree in worthless facts, and useless information....so brace yourself, and prepare to be fascinated...!

So, if I'm right, I've missed my fleeting chance to patent an emoticon flipping the bird at a Google Doodle. Or should I get "crackin', so to speak.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

So, if I'm right, I've missed my fleeting chance to patent an emoticon flipping the bird at a Google Doodle. Or should I get "crackin', so to speak.

Why not at all! just take it down to the patent office yourself. It is located at 7840 Chrome ave, Googleton Wa.....hey wait a minute!

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Why not at all! just take it down to the patent office yourself. It is located at 7840 Chrome ave, Googleton Wa.....hey wait a minute!

Whoa! I'm way too lazy for that. I thought I might just hang it in my front window and wait for the street view crew to discover and infringe on it. Meanwhile I'll be out front, slashing their tires.. I probably wouldn't even have to do that, in this neighborhood I'm sure that somebody else would do it for me. Well, not exactly "for me", but they would do it.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

Whoa! I'm way too lazy for that. I thought I might just hang it in my front window and wait for the street view crew to discover and infringe on it. Meanwhile I'll be out front, slashing their tires..

I was trying to think of how to work 'Earth' in there, but couldn't come up with it.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I had a brief spell of dyslexia when I saw the title of this thread. I thought it said, "Google Dongle"...! Needless to say, I thought it meant something dirty. :o

I though it might be a but sniffer sort of device, that would enable Google to put its corporate nose further up our collective a**....

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

LOL @ these comments.

Glad that the members of techspot can put a smile on my face in the morning. Keep it up guys.

Leeky Leeky said:

Every other institution in America is, why would you expect the patent office be any different?

You said it Crankster!

Its a view I see more and more American's expressing each day. Seems like everyone except those in power are fed up with their country.

MrAnderson said:

Seems like they are trying to patent the dynamic display to which visual alterations of a corporate or other organizations' logo is served up and governed by a set of defined rules of a computer system on the web. It sounds fair that they did narrow the scope to systems governed with in the search engine market. Without reading into all the details of the document, it could still considered very ridiculous. But has anyone done it before? What would it be like if someone patented the ad roller on the web?

Perhaps, sometimes patents are used to garner attention in a brand in order to establish that they were there first. Enforcing that others pay for the idea only will keep them in the minds of people. That may as well have been their goal, rather than guarding the idea.

Or perhaps the details of there patent will show that enough data has been collected to show that their methods and the system devised and all mechanisms and the complexities within the scope of search engine justify patent.

Lol? I could not say that with a straight face?

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