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USPTO Gives Google Patent For Doodles 150

Posted by samzenpus
from the omg-ponies dept.
theodp writes "After a 10-year struggle, the USPTO was convinced to issue Google a patent Tuesday for Systems and Methods for Enticing Users to Access a Web Site, aka Google Doodles. Among other things, Google explains that the invention of co-founder Sergey Brin covers modifying a company logo with 'a turkey for Thanksgiving' and 'a leprechaun's pot of gold for Saint Patrick's Day.' To help drive home its point, Google included an illustration showing the USPTO that hearts could be displayed on the Google home page for Valentine's, which would be deja-vu-all-over-again for the 394 lovers who used the UIUC PLATO system on Feb. 14th, 1975."
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USPTO Gives Google Patent For Doodles

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  • Prior art (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shikaku (1129753) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @02:18PM (#35576498)

    10000BC, caves.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @02:20PM (#35576548)
      Yes, but this is USING COMPUTERS! That makes is a completely different, novel invention worthy of protection.
    • by equex (747231)
      VLC media player will turn into a Santa Claus-hat instead of the usual orange cone during xmas.
    • Google home page for Valentine's, which would be deja-vu-all-over-again for the 394 lovers who used the UIUC PLATO system on Feb. 14th, 1975
    • 10000BC, caves.

      Claim 1: A non-transitory computer-readable medium that stores instructions executable by one or more processors to perform a method for attracting users to a web page, comprising: instructions for creating a special event logo by modifying a standard company logo for a special event, where the instructions for creating the special event logo includes instructions for modifying the standard company logo with one or more animated images; instructions for associating a link or search results with the special

      • by aix tom (902140)

        Well, you could call Morgs third cousin Glock a "computer", because he is the only one in the tribe capable of counting to five.
        Then a wall or a stone tablet would be a "computer-readable medium".

        And cute little Gnuutna could be classified as a "processor", because she processes all the meat the men hunt, and Morg and Glock can give her instructions to lure members of other tribes into the nets they have constructed over at specific sides of the cave, which would then basically be "performing a method for a

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      coca cola.
      many other websites.

      it's just another example of google being evil for sake of being evil and wasting investors money for the sake of not knowing what else to patent. I mean, this will not help android with it's patent troubles or are they going to cross license this? it's a funny novelty, but ehm, they shouldn't waste time on using lawyers for that, googles done enough of funny stuff.

      also, for giggles, go check localised google home pages (for .sk for example) and then think.. did these guys hire

  • by tverbeek (457094) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @02:19PM (#35576530) Homepage

    very heavy sigh.

    • very heavy sigh.

      Indeed. I googled stupid patents [google.com] and it came up with 1,530,000 results. When I change it to stupid patents google [google.com] I get 5,440,000 results. Hmmm, I wonder what that's about?

      • by repka (1102731)

        I guess things like your comment would show up only under the latter search.

      • by Lion XL (1849898)

        It's about you sounding pretty dumb.......the words are queried by 'OR''s not 'AND''S.....so those extra 3mil+ words contained the word 'GOOGLE'.......

        • by jgagnon (1663075)

          Searching for "+stupid +patents +google" (making them all "ands") gives 733000 results. :p

          • I misread .. and here to tell you that "stupid pants google" gives 13,800,000 results.

            • by ghmh (73679)

              Actually at the time of this comment "stupid pants google" only returns 3 results. 2 are from facebook, and the third is the comment I'm replying to now.

              Another example:

              • google is evil : About 64,700,000 results
              • "google is evil" : About 222,000 results
      • I think something along the line of:

        "All Patents Are Stupid"

        "But Some Are More Stupid Than Others"

    • by poetmatt (793785)

      More like a facepalm for sighing. Google doesnt' sue for patents, they just use them to protect themselves. So I wouldn't worry about them so much as oh, you know, microsoft, oracle, apple? duh.

      • by rubycodez (864176)
        what's to keep them from "protecting themselves" by restricting small companies and other people,? I and thousands of other people and companies put enticing doodles on our websites long before google existed
        • by poetmatt (793785)

          Are you afraid to breathe because someone might patent it? That's a microsoft response.

          Google hasn't sued anyone for patents, they don't need to. Get over the fucking FUD.

          • by rubycodez (864176)
            I fear a patent office that commits blunders on the order of granting patents to breathing; if they are that stupid preservation of our ability and freedom to create and innovate are in very poor hands.
      • by Nikker (749551)
        So instead of the USPO declining such stupid ideas Google gets to be the "Good Guys(TM)" and let you put hearts on your site during Valentines Day and snow flakes during winter? Wow that's great.
      • by erroneus (253617)

        I too would like confirmation on this assertion. Can it be said that Google has never initiated a law suit a party over patents? Can anyone refute this claim? (I know, proving a negative... so I am seeking a positive to disprove a negative)

        Also, do we have any word or statement from Google that they will not sue another party for patent infringement?

        • by poetmatt (793785)

          Are you a republican? they'd be proud of that kind of logic.

          Let's try it this way, which has already been proven: has google sued anyone over patents?

          Your focus is on fear, and thus idiotic.

          hint: no.

      • by mwvdlee (775178)

        What would be even better is if even Google didn't get the patent. Then Google didn't have to not sue anybody.
        I've been doing holiday flavoured themes (including logo's) for my own website(s) long before I ever touched Google, and I got the idea from other sites that have been doing this far before. Perhaps some of these sites were the inspiration for Google to do the same with their own logo.
        Either way the PLATO prior-art proves Google is in the wrong. The only honorable thing Google can do now is to relea

    • by EdIII (1114411)

      You have no idea. I help administrate/develop a couple of websites and I was asked to start cycling out the background and logo depending on the holiday and time of year.

      This patent is so fucking stupid it's ridiculous. Now Google is the only one that gets to do that? Really?

      Mind blowing stupidity. Now I have to inform several website owners of the patent when they ask this so they are at least informed of possible patent infringement.

  • Just ridiculous.
    • Re:Ridiculous. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Dachannien (617929) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @02:43PM (#35576932)

      So, did you read the patent claims, or just the typically misleading /. summary?

      • So, did you read the patent claims, or just the typically misleading /. summary?

        I agree I did, then read the actual patent claims:

        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.

        I agree with the grandparents conclusion. Ridiculous.

  • Aren't patents supposed to be for ideas that aren't obvious?
    • Aren't patents supposed to be for ideas that aren't obvious?

      Hey, that's a pretty novel idea you've got there. Why not patent it? You can avoid the 'prior art' and 'obviousness' issues by simply checking the 'Super New Idea' and 'I Was First, Pinky Swear!' boxes on the patent application form.

      • by shentino (1139071)

        If penalties for perjury on patent applications were even half decent that would actually be a good idea.

      • Aren't patents supposed to be for ideas that aren't obvious?

        Hey, that's a pretty novel idea you've got there. Why not patent it? You can avoid the 'prior art' and 'obviousness' issues by simply checking the 'Super New Idea' and 'I Was First, Pinky Swear!' boxes on the patent application form.

        You forgot "on the Internet".

        All ideas are patentable if you add, "On the Internet" to them. It's like a game...

    • Yeah, so? It never stopped any of the various computer related patents.

    • Aren't patents supposed to be for ideas that aren't obvious?

      Filing: 2001
      Granting: 2011

      Obviously it wasn't that obvious.

    • by Aighearach (97333)

      The obviousness part is usually handled by the courts, not by the USPTO.

      Lately they've done a great job. The most recent Supreme Court precedent says that it has to be non-obvious in the context of wanting to achieve the same result.

      So if you apply that here, it would have to be non-obvious in the context of wanting to change the logo on special events.

      It has received derision from some here that the court left open the possibility of business method patents, but they didn't give any examples and seemed ske

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        The obviousness part is usually handled by the courts, not by the USPTO.

        Oh, Really [slashdot.org]?

        The feds don't seem to agree:

        The US solicitor general, which represents the federal government in the Supreme Court, on Friday filed an amicus brief in support of i4i, saying that the US Patent and Trademark Office should not be second-guessed by a jury.

        If they take away recourse to the courts, then they better get the obviousness part sorted out before they grant the bloody thing. Because, as it stands right now, you can pa

        • by Aighearach (97333)

          Because a backwater of the executive branch keeps asking the court to change it's mind and let them do whatever they want, doesn't tell us anything about, or contradict, precedent.

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            Because a backwater of the executive branch keeps asking the court to change it's mind and let them do whatever they want, doesn't tell us anything about, or contradict, precedent.

            I hope you're right, I really do. But, I really have visions of the Solicitor General establishing a new precedent saying that the USPTO's decisions should be final.

            That would be bad.

            • by Aighearach (97333)

              That's not who establishes precedent.

              • by gstoddart (321705)

                That's not who establishes precedent.

                Sorry, yes. I'm hoping the courtswon't use the amicus brief to establish a new precedent that sides with the solicitor general that says the USPTO shouldn't be second guessed by a jury.

                For more specific legal advice, contact a lawyer. ;-)

        • by 517714 (762276)
          I made that mistake too, paying attention to the spin from the summary/article instead of what the brief says, someone was kind enough to point it out to me.

          "The clear-and-convincing-evidence standard also furthers the reliance interests created by a patent grant by affording the patent holder enhanced protection against an erroneous jury finding of invalidity. By allowing a lay jury to second-guess the PTO's judgment even in close cases, the preponderance standard would diminish the expected value of patents and would reduce future inventors' incentives to innovate and to disclose their inventions to the public."

          It comes off as really inflammatory until the third or fourth time you read it. He doesn't say take the jury out of the equation, he is advocating that the standard the jury should use in overruling the Patent Office should be "clear and convincing evidence standard" instead of the "preponderance standard" that Microsoft is arguing should be applied.

          • by gstoddart (321705)

            It comes off as really inflammatory until the third or fourth time you read it. He doesn't say take the jury out of the equation, he is advocating that the standard the jury should use in overruling the Patent Office should be "clear and convincing evidence standard" instead of the "preponderance standard" that Microsoft is arguing should be applied. So he's douchey , but not evil douchey.

            Ah ... evidentiary standards and what constitutes proof ... not what I was really thinking that was saying at all.

            Then I

    • Remember how Sun built up its patent portfolio? Engineers would try to write the most inane shit in a contest to see what they could slip past the USPTO's radar. It was all in good nature... at the time. I suspect the Google Doodles patent must have come from something similar. It's obvious that if Google ever tried to litigate someone with it, the judge would spend most of his or her time laughing. If Google could patent "patenting irrelevant crap to test the USPTO's ability to detect said crap," they woul
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @02:29PM (#35576688)

    Have hyper-litigious, like Microsoft, created an environment where every silly idea must be patented just out of self defence?

    If Google did not patent this, Microsoft would have; then Microsoft would have sued Google over it's use.

    • by noahm (4459)

      If Google did not patent this, Microsoft would have; then Microsoft would have sued Google over it's use.

      People still have this delusion that Google is not evil. Amazing.

      • People still have this delusion that Google is not evil. Amazing.

        Maybe you have not heard about Microsoft suing andriod makers over such silly patents as the idea of an index, or a graphic that displays while a page is loading. Or the dozens of other equally silly IP extortion scams launched by Microsoft.

        Google may not be perfect, but Microsoft's IP litigation is in a class by itself.

        • by noahm (4459)

          People still have this delusion that Google is not evil. Amazing.

          Maybe you have not heard about Microsoft suing andriod makers over such silly patents as the idea of an index, or a graphic that displays while a page is loading. Or the dozens of other equally silly IP extortion scams launched by Microsoft.

          I didn't say anything at all in Microsoft's defense.

          Google may not be perfect, but Microsoft's IP litigation is in a class by itself.

          Again, I'm not making any claims about Microsoft. I'm simply expressing amazement that people still see Google as this benevolent entity that only ever acts in the public's best interest (or at worst, defensively, as you seemed to imply) Google is a publicly traded multi-national corporation that is driven by the need to expand markets and increase revenue. If they did not see monetary value in this "invention", they would not have applied for the patent,

          • Strawman. Nobody ever claimed it was altruistic. OP claimed it was defensive.

            • by noahm (4459)
              And my claim is that it doesn't excuse the creation of yet another bad patent. Defensive bad patents are still bad patents.
              • But still necessary. If you want change, you need to change the system. Preventing companies from taking up defensive patents just means they're more likely to get sued. The problem's not with Google's behaviour, it's with the system that requires that behaviour.

                • by noahm (4459)
                  If google only filed defensive patents, I might agree. But they've got an immense patent portfolio and have used it extensively for purposes far beyond defensive.
                  • Examples? Had a quick look, but didn't see any examples of Google suing for patent violation. All I could find were articles about Google being sued, or Google suing to overturn other companies' patents.

            • by yuhong (1378501)

              BTW, on the topic of defensive patents, look up what happened to Amazon's 1-click patents on Slashdot. I read that MS's patents filed before 1996 or so was intended to be defensive too, but one of them was invoked in the B&N lawsuits.

    • by TC Wilcox (954812)

      Have hyper-litigious, like Microsoft, created an environment where every silly idea must be patented just out of self defence?

      If Google did not patent this, Microsoft would have; then Microsoft would have sued Google over it's use.

      What makes you think Microsoft has anything to do with this? I mean, come on.... We have a story about google patenting something stupid and somehow it is Microsoft's fault?

      • What makes you think Microsoft has anything to do with this? I mean, come on.... We have a story about google patenting something stupid and somehow it is Microsoft's fault?

        I said companies like Microsoft. Amazon, Apple, Paul Allan, and others play the same game. I guess MS came to mind because of MS silly patent lawsuits against Android device makers.

  • A method to leave people speechless.

    CC.
  • i patent putting lights up on my house at christmas and wearing green during st paddys. I call it Systems and Methods for Enticing Strangers to Associate based on Appearance.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday March 22, 2011 @02:36PM (#35576814) Journal

    Google just patented the Message of the Day...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Why doesn't every post about the USPTO automatically have an "idiocracy" tag?

    • The idiocracy mainly comes about from Slashdotters who don't know (a) how patents work or (b) how to examine patent applications.

      The USPTO is hiring. If you think you can make a difference, and you're a US citizen with at least a Bachelor's in an engineering field, and you can relocate to the Alexandria, Virginia, area, you might consider applying.

      • Why I am a huge advocate of patent reform is this worth giving up my pay check for? Can, I just do it part time like if I reviewed work for journals. How much does a USPTO officer get paid?

        • Caveat and mea culpa: I just checked the website at http://www.usptocareers.gov/ [usptocareers.gov] , and it turns out that the job vacancies are currently closed. Probably something to do with Congress still not passing a real budget, and the USPTO doesn't want to have people relocate to NOVA if the government is just going to shut down immediately afterwards. Hiring will undoubtedly start again once the budget situation is resolved, especially if Congress also passes the patent reform bill that would give the USPTO fee-s

          • And if you spend too much time searching and searching for things that are extremely obscure in the prior art, you won't make production.

            That sounds like the problem, right there. If I can approve a patent and move on and get 1 point, or search, search and search then deny a patent and get 1 point, guess how I'm going to play the game.
            Patents should be for extraordinary stuff. Denying a patent should at least get you a party with cake and ice cream. (:-)
            There should be bonuses for every successful search and denied patent.
            If the Patent office relies on case law to deny patents, then that's another big problem. Most obvious stuff th

            • Well at a certain point it's just not feasible to continue to search regardless of the quota. Besides, if the claim is obscure that's all they're getting legal coverage for anyway.
            • If the Patent office relies on case law to deny patents, then that's another big problem.

              For the most part, this means in a general sense. Case law isn't usually relied upon for the specifics of a rejection, but rather for the underlying framework to support the logic behind a rejection. The most basic example is the Supreme Court's decision in KSR v. Teleflex, which reinforces earlier case law set forth in Graham v. John Deere, which established the factual inquiries required for determining obviousness:

              1. Determine the scope and content of the prior art (i.e., conduct a search of the prior

      • The USPTO is hiring. If you think you can make a difference...

        I sincerely doubt they are hiring people who think they can make a difference. More like people willing to cope with the backlog for 10-15 years.
        Perks include: "Meet Our Customers" Junkets, Mondays Wednesdays and Fridays. And Taco Tuesdays.

  • Slashdot will be in violation of this patent in about a week and a half :)

  • It seem Google is just following IBM's path of patent anything/everything - just in case. In one very narrow band of technology that I'm familiar with, IBM files about 5 patent apps a year, and each one that I've read is simply common knowledge and widely implemented by the other 100 or so people in the world also familiar with this technology/engineering.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    The patent is very narrow and specific, and is unlikely to be useful in court. For example: the doodle needs to be based on a standard company logo, as opposed to a logo for a product or service, or other image. The new logo must be created to reflect a special event. It has to modify the original standard company logo, and it must include one or more animated images. There must be a link or search results associated with the image, which are triggered by selecting the image, and they must be related to the

  • In any patent litigation, the inventor(s) of a patent can be deposed by the defendants. In this particular patent, the other side can force Sergey Brin to sit in front of a video camera for hours and answer all manner of questions about Google Co. The relevance of those questions is given a lot of latitude. Then, that video and a transcript become public documents in the lawsuit.

    This is not something Google wants to do.

  • But what the hell is this?

    How about don't be ridiculous too?

  • It being patented is just doubly stupid.

  • I could just come up with "if user does this, then something is done when sensing a users action, which entices the user to perform an action, which leads that person to some place of my choice.

    SO can I patent this

    Say I have an e-commerce site and the lowest profit margin I need to make is 30% on each sale/item.

    A user at my sites selects one or more items and when all those item(s), minus the shipping cost come out to 30%+ profit margin the shopping cart software then gives the user free shipping (also not

  • And they say Google is a partner of the coalition for patent fairness (http://patentfairness.org/). What a joke.
  • by qmaqdk (522323)

    What would it take for the USPTO to reject a patent application (one which includes the phrase "on a computer")?

  • So, they patented a KISS doll for corporate logos.

    The summary made me think Google patented oekaki. Now that would've made me mad.

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