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Apple wins patent for iTunes Store user interface

The company has waited several years for the patent, which relates to browsing, search, and presenting media items, to be approved by the U.S. PTO.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Apple has won a patent for the look and feel of its iTunes Store.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office today published patent 8,161,411 related to a "graphical user interface for browsing, searching, and presenting media items." Apple filed for the patent back in 2004, when the online retail venue was still known as the iTunes Music Store.

The patent appears to be quite broad, but focuses solely on the graphical user interface, and not the way in which people might buy songs on the platform or its general functionality. That said, the patent abstract says that the user interface is "suitable for previewing or purchasing media items in an on-line manner."

Since the patent application was filed with the USPTO, Apple's iTunes Store has undergone a host of changes. When it first launched, it provided users with music downloads, but over the last several years, as Apple's digital focus has expanded, the marketplace has added movies, television shows, and more. The platform has also been ported from the desktop to mobile devices, including the iPod and iPhone.

Over that period, Apple's store has watched its popularity skyrocket, and become the world's largest music store. Apple's App Store, which is built into iTunes on the desktop, has become the top destination for developers and those looking for mobile applications. Simply put, iTunes has become a juggernaut.

But now that Apple has secured its user interface patent, it might be changing things. In February, 9to5Mac reported, citing sources, that Apple is planning to redesign the iTunes Store and App Store, with a launch set for sometime later this year. The improvements would offer a "much more engaging experience," and make it simpler for users to find the content they desire.

(Via Patently Apple)