After five years of legal struggles, Google have finally managed to gain ownership of the patent for the homepage. This new patent now encapsulates the entire Google homepage as a Graphical User Interface (GUI) which includes the search box in the middle of any communications terminal with two buttons below. Any site using a layout similar to the Google homepage will now be guilty of patent infringement.
This is sure to leave any would be competition seething as they attempt to follow Google’s success. The biggest question is how are Google are going to enforce this? As an example, Yahoo’s page layout is not hugely different from that of Google, so is there a legal battle about to ensue, or will Yahoo just move a few things around? Are Google hoping that the competition will be courteous and change their sites to avoid possible legal battles?
Just how serious is this going to get for the legal team of Google? Does the number of man hours that will be required to track down websites using similar layouts justify setting up yet another department to scour the web? The answers to these questions would purely be speculation at the moment and only time will tell what Google will do with the patent and the power it holds. Maybe after five years of ownership, it’s more a matter of pride then anything else.