Wednesday, March 23, 2011

US 7,912,915: the "Google Doodle" patent

On March 22, 2011, US 7,912,915, titled Systems and methods for enticing users to access a web site , issued to Sergey Brin of Google. The underlying application, 09/843,923 , was filed April 30, 2001.

The first claim, and only independent claim. states:

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 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.

The background art section notes:

Today, many operators of web sites on the Internet use animated images, such as animated Graphic Interchange Format (GIF) images, in web pages to make the web pages more dynamic and visually appealing to users. The philosophy is that if the web pages are visually appealing, then the users will visit the web site often.

There are disadvantages, however, to using animated images. For example, if a user visits a site regularly, the user quickly begins to ignore the animated images. In other words, although animated images can make web pages more appealing to users initially, they typically do not entice the users to return to the web page.

With many web sites, it would be desirable to have users access the web site frequently. Online businesses, for example, would benefit from having users (i.e., customers) return to their web site on a regular basis. Additionally, web sites that display advertisements can obtain more revenue from their advertisers if users regularly visit the web sites.

As a result, there exists a need for mechanisms that entice users to return to a web site on a regular basis.

***As a separate matter

Also on March 22, the company Butamax (a venture of BP and DuPont) was awarded its second US patent, 7,910,342, titled Fermentive production of isobutanol using highly active ketol-acid reductoisomerase enzymes
with first claim:

A method for conversion of acetolactate to dihydroxy-isovalerate comprising: a) providing a microbial host cell comprising a genetic construct encoding a polypeptide having ketol-acid reductoisomerase specific activity greater than 1.1 .mu.moles/min/mg wherein the genetic construct encoding a polypeptide having ketol-acid reductoisomerase activity is isolated from Pseudomonas or Vibrio; and b) contacting the host cell of (a) with acetolactate wherein 2,3-dihydroxy-isovalerate is produced; wherein the ketol-acid reductoisomerase specific activity greater than 1.1 .mu.moles/min/mg is based on purified protein as measured by: A) NADPH consumption assay, run under the following conditions: i) pH of 7.5; ii) a temperature of C.; and iii) a reaction buffer comprising a) 100 mM potassium-HEPES; b) 10 mM MgCl.sub.2; c) 2.25 mM (R,S)-acetolactate; and d) 200 .mu.M NADPH; and B) purified protein concentration as determined by absorbance at 280 nanometers.

Butamax has accused the biofuels company Gevo of infringing claims of its first patent, US 7,851,188.


Blogger New said...

The "Doodle" patent does seem rather uncomfortably close to a patent on an "abstract idea" -- which the Bilski patent litigation was supposed to prevent. If S.23, the patent reform bill, passes in the House in substantially the same form, It will be interesting to see whether and how the anti-business method provisions of that legislation may be asserted in the future against patents like this one.

12:39 PM  

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