Should web designs be patentable?

Web pages already have substantial trademark and copyright protection. Why should patent protections be added?

Google is trying to patent its search results page.

The New Google Blog has posted a grainy page of the patent application (via Flickr)  which the blog Outer Court calls a variation on software patents. And silly.

But it's not silly. Not at all. If Google lawyers had not protected themselves with this application, someone else might have filed, putting Google on defense rather than offense in a court of law, with bills piling up.

One can argue that there is nothing special about Google's search results page, that it's all prior art. But I would rather tackle the more basic question, whether Web pages should be subject to patent at all.

Web pages already have substantial trademark and copyright protection. Why should patent protections be added?

To me the move also calls for basic reform in the patent system, something I know I've been on and on about. Here's the Google search result for that.