As far as I know, Google has never sued nor even threatened anyone else with a patent infringement claim (if anyone knows of any, let me know). The company does file for a fair number of patents, but so far it seems to be focused on using them for defensive purposes. However, as a bunch of folks are submitting, the company has now received a patent on the “invention” of changing your logo for special events. Yes, the concept of Google Doodles is now patented. The patent itself, 7,912,915, took nearly 11 years to get approved, but it still got approved. The claims are pretty short, but here’s the key one:
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 event logo, the link identifying a document relating to the special event, the search results relating to the special event; instructions for uploading the special event logo to the web page; instructions for receiving a user selection of the special event logo; and instructions for providing the document relating to the special event or the search results relating to the special event based on the user selection.
- Silicon Alley Insider: Google Gets An Absurd Patent For Its “Google Doodles” (GOOG) (businessinsider.com)