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Even the door on Google’s self-driving car has its own patent

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Google's self-driving car prototype

Today, Google was granted a design patent for the door on its self-driving car, first filed in January 2015. The patent shows seven angles of the unusually shaped door, which has become one of the central design features of Google's first self-designed vehicle.

It's not unusual for car companies to patent component designs, often out of fear that sharing unpatented designs with suppliers will lead to copycats. A number of Google's previous patents for the car's taillight and seat design have previously been granted. Still, the filing schedule is odd, thanks in part to Google's unorthodox rollout. Many of the patents were filed months after the car was first seen by the public in May 2014.

The patent also offers a look into the team that created the unusual design of Google's car, which as referred to as "ugly potato" in Audi's most recent annual report. One of the designers credited on the patent has a long history of designing consumer electronics for LG, while another came to Google X from Volkswagen.