Apparently, Google has filed a patent for their search result page design. The patent details several points that Google uses to rank web pages. This appears to be design patent which means the appearance of the page is being patented and not the functional characterstics. Image of the filing is available here.
There are two kinds of patents. A utility patent protects the way something may be used and how it works. A design patent protects the way it looks. The US Patent and Trademark Office describes the protection under that type of patent here.