Gruber linked to this March story in PC World. It details how Google was just awarded a U.S. patent for its “Google Doodles” — 10 years after its initial submission by Sergey Brin in 2001.
As you can see, the patent is titled “Systems and Methods for Enticing Users to a Web Site.” Really.
It sucks that companies have to submit patents or ideas like these. It sucks even more that it takes 10 years to be accepted. Imagine if it was something revolutionary — 10 years in technology is a ridiculously long time. Things get outdated in a year or two these days.
Patents are stifling innovation and do nothing more than add to a respective company’s arsenal when it comes to lawsuits. Hopefully the recent Google/Microsoft spat over patents will lead to some reform. Doubt it, though.
Update: Mark Cuban has a few ideas on patents. A good read.