The search engine operator Google has acquired the United States Patent No. 6,839,702 for "systems and methods for highlighting search results". In the description of the invention it says that in response to a search query a list of one or more links is returned to the user. "The user may then select one of the links to retrieve a document corresponding to the link. The user may make the selection, for example, by clicking on one of the links using a pointer, such as a mouse pointer. The browser assistant...detects the link selection and retrieves the corresponding document from a server...The browser assistant...may then highlight the search terms in the document...For example, the browser assistant...may search the document to locate the search terms. Then for each occurrence of the search terms, the browser assistant...may change one or more characteristics of the word(s), such as the font, style, size, color, effect, etc..." The highlighting will, for instance, happen, when a link from out of Google´s cache is selected from among the list returned.
In the description of the invention it says that in response to a search query a list of one or more links is returned to the user.
This patent is invalid since there is prior art -- Google was not exactly the very first search engine in the world, and others shown "a list of one or more links" to the user.
What about highlighting? Thats nothing else but GUI feature that I think a few court cases established (Microsoft vs Apple) is not copyrightable and not patentable.
Have to say its amazing to see they are patenting stuff like that, but not clever technical things that makes Google tick over so well. It is rather sad to see lawyers and other suits taking over Google's ops. :(