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An early Google Doodle, from January 2000

Google was awarded a patent today on something known in intellectual-property lingo as “Systems and methods for enticing users to access a web site,” invented by its co-founder Sergey Brin.

In plain language, the rest of us know this as Google Doodles — the custom logos that the company puts on its home page to mark special occasions.

From the 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 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.”

It has been a long struggle to secure the patent, dating back to the original filing almost a decade ago.

It’s hard to see Google trying to enforce this one. Can you imagine the licensing discussions?

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