Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Patents is a question and answer site for people interested in improving and participating in the patent system. It's 100% free, no registration required.

enter image description here

This Patent Application has received a final rejection by the US Patent Office.

The rejection was based in part on prior art found by Ask Patents community below! The main reference cited by the Patent Examiner in the rejection was found by Ask Patents.

An applicant has several ways to keep an application in this state alive. They include a request for continuing examination, which involves paying more fees and responding to the rejection. Appealing the rejection is another avenue. If nothing is done it will go abandoned six months from the final rejection.

Thanks to the YOU, the Ask Patents community, overly-broad claims have at least been narrowed. Follow @askpatents to block more overly-broad patent applications.

TITLE: Scale factors for visual presentations

  • Publication Number: US 20130063492 A1
  • App Number: 13/230445
  • Assignee: Microsoft Corporation
  • Prior Art Cutoff Date: Prior Art predating Sept 12, 2011
  • Availability for Challenge: Open Until at least Sept 14, 2013

Summary: This application generates and display graphical elements based on pixel density. The invention selects a scale factor from a scale factor set that is within the range of the pixel density.

Claim 1 requires, among other things:

A method of generating, using a device having a processor, a presentation comprising elements to be displayed on a display component, the method comprising:

  • executing on the processor instructions configured to:

    • identify a pixel density of the display component;

    • for respective elements of the presentation:

      • from a scale factor set, select a scale factor having a pixel density range including the pixel density of the display component; and

      • request the element to generate a scaled representation using the scale factor; and

    • generate the presentation comprising the scaled representations of the elements.

Sample figure

WHY IT MATTERS - This application is similar to other resolution-independent scaling applications, patents, and implementations carried out in the industry.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 09/12/2011 that discusses (1) scale factor; (2) scale factor set; and (3) pixel density range in the manner described in claim 1?

If so, please submit evidence of that prior art as an answer below. Please submit only one piece of prior art per answer below. We welcome multiple prior art proposals from the same individual; please create separate answers for each one. This is so the community can vet each individual piece of prior art independently.

For details about what makes good prior art, please see our FAQ. Once you have submitted prior art, check back soon to see if the Ask Patents community has chosen your prior art to be submitted to the United States Patent & Trademark Office.

If you'd like to contribute in another way, please vote or comment on submissions made below. And we welcome you to post your own request for prior art if you know of another questionable patent or patent application.

Thanks for participating!

share|improve this question
I looked at the revised claims on the USPTO website and they still look worth challenging. Should this be done by amending this question or posting a new one? –  JoeG Aug 25 '13 at 8:47
Just thought I'd mention that this application has now (as of 2013-09-18) had a final rejection, in case someone wants to edit the top section of this question accordingly. –  Philip C Oct 1 '13 at 13:21
I have a Question . Why do we need to have different images at different resolutions , and then resizing the closest available image ..? Where we can just resize the original Image everytime as the resolution changes ? –  user6035 Oct 20 '13 at 6:10
Because it's more efficient to start from a smallish image if you need a small one. You may also want to look up "mipmapping" from the 3D graphics world. –  Chromatix Oct 21 '13 at 10:55

9 Answers 9

up vote 70 down vote accepted

Official USPTO Prior Art

This Patent Application received a non-final rejection by the US Patent Office! The rejection was based in part on prior art found by Ask Patents community in this answer!

"Writing DPI-Aware Win32 Applications", an article by Ryan Haveson and Ken Sykes, published by Microsoft and dated September 2008.

Some of the terminology is different; Pixel Density is referred to as DPI (dots per inch, where a dot is a pixel).

Notice on page 15, the sections "Multiple Resolution Support" and "Closest Fit", appears to disclose what 13/230445 calls "scaling sets." Vis.:

The multiple resolution support technique requires that you provide your graphics at multiple resolutions so that you have a version that renders well at for each targeted DPI setting, such as 96, 120, 144, and 192. In this case, these values are equivalent to 100%, 125%, 150%, and 200% of the baseline DPI setting of 96. At run time, your application’s logic first determines the correct DPI scaling factor, and then uses it to determine which resolution of the graphics to use.


For example, if the current custom DPI setting is 132 and you have provided multiple resolution graphics for 96, 120, and 144 DPI, you would first load the graphic that has slightly greater resolution to the current DPI. In this case, you would first load the 144 DPI version of the graphic. You would then scale it down to render well at 132 DPI.

share|improve this answer
The patent applies a scaling factor picked from a set of factors and picked without regard for the output. So if the DPI of the images is between X and Y it applies a certain scaling factor, if between Y and Z it applies a different one. As best I can see what you cited as been in IE since 2000 - see IE6 (basic zoom function). There are no sets. Is there a page you think discloses scaling sets? –  user3359 Mar 27 '13 at 18:58
Yes, page 15. I have edited my answer to call this out –  Joel Spolsky Mar 27 '13 at 19:59
Thanks for the article explaining your process - I've been inspired to join –  Riaz Rizvi Jul 22 '13 at 16:27
Looking at their rebuttal they emphasise that theirs disallows scaling: "...avoid the artifacts of scaling by limiting the model to a small, selected set of DPIs. ...the device only requests elements matching one of the small set of selected DPIs." If it comes back around, it may be worth pointing out that KDE has been doing pretty much exactly this via vector icons for years. –  Wyatt Jul 22 '13 at 19:06
I wanted to read the rejection but it’s fairly cumbersome to get to it and read it via the USPTO interface. So I downloaded and stitched it into a PDF for my own reading. For anyone else who is equally interested, I have uploaded this PDF to gist.github.com/ap/6067449 –  Aristotle Pagaltzis Jul 24 '13 at 1:44

Not an answer, but an attempt to save the time of people looking for answers. The following have already been presented to the USPTO by the applicant so "finding" them will not add anything.

Issued Patents

1 7689908 2010-03-30 Yan,et al.
2 7689583 2010-03-30 Bozich, et al.
3 7180531 2007-02-20 Gery, et al.
4 6549214 2003-04-15 Patel, et al.
5 6213653 2001-04-10 Borg, et al.

Patent Applications

1 20080065668 A1 2008-03-13 Spence, et al.
2 20080030425 A1 2008-02-07 Fullerton, et al.
3 20050012723 A1 2005-01-20 Pallakoff, Matt.

Non-Patent Literature

"Overview of Resolution Independence", Retrieved at http://developer.apple.com/library/mac/#documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/HiDPIOverview/HiDPIConceptslHiDPIConcepts.html, Retrieved Date: June 7, 2011, Pages 7.

share|improve this answer
Wow George, very nice work here! –  Robert Filter Oct 29 '13 at 20:25
Micah added the links, I didn't do much. –  George White Oct 29 '13 at 23:27

I think I've found an interesting related patent in Methods and systems for displaying media in a scaled manner and/or orientation issued in 2007. There's a number of references to layout related to scale factors

laying out said images and text at a virtual pixel resolution using layout pixel sizes for said images and text, so as to assign a horizontal and vertical virtual position in said layout to each of said images and each portion of a string of text displayed on a given line;


images and text in said displayed portion of the layout are shown at pixel coordinates that correspond to the positions of said images and text in the layout, as scaled down by said scale factor;

There isn't however a direct mention of density so I'm not sure if it's enough. I'm using http://searcher.io to locate related filed patents, I'd be happy to share the generated report if others would like to look through it as well.

share|improve this answer

Not sure if this is exactly relevant:

The BBC Micro had a graphics scaling system way back in 1982. Page 137 of this user guide states that:

The ‘origin’ is point 0,0 and is at the bottom left of the screen. Top right is 1279,1023

implying a resolution of 1280x1024, but that was way beyond what was practical at the time - the real resolutions were 640x256, 320x256 and 160x256 (on the previous page).

share|improve this answer

Scale drawing is a mathematical algorithm. People have been drawing things to scale based on the physical size of the display medium since ancient times. The diagrams above mention "PIXELS/INCH." This quantity is more commonly denoted DPI or "Dots Per Inch." The "Dots" refer to dots of ink on a piece of paper, and it is still called DPI on computer screens for historical reasons, because the concepts pre-dates electronic displays. DPI scaling is used in print typography to ensure, for example, that a 12 point font appears the same size when it is printed by different printers. Typography is hundreds of years old and is related to the spread of the printing press which revolutionized the world. The "pixel" (and font "point") used in computer displays today is historically related to the "dots" of printers, which have existed since before the invention of the computer. See Point_(typography) for more details. Furthermore, technical drawings must be drawn to scale to be useful, and the mathematical technique behind it is well known, obvious and pretty much identical to the scaling of images on a screen based on the screen's pixel density. Furthermore, all computer software involving rendering of fonts would have to use the same calculations involving pixels per inch (DPI), scaling factors and generating graphics.

Are these patents really legally enforceable? If Microsoft sold the patent, a patent troll would buy it and try to extort people for doing simple mathematical calculations involving "pixels/dots per inch"?

share|improve this answer
I agree scaling is well known in the industry. However, the USPTO also reviews these applications to see whether the claims provide any "useful improvement thereof." 35 USC 101. That's why specific prior art references are useful. Also, a patent application under review (like this one) is not legally enforceable, unless it gets granted. That is another process in itself. –  PHOSITA Apr 5 '13 at 16:13
I do not think regularly spaced dots to represent imagery was used in ancient times or with the invention of typography. Half-tone in the late 1800's might be the start. Criteria for patentability include novelty and non-obviousness. It doesn't take much to make something novel/new. If the whole claimed thing hasn't been done, known, etc. before the priority date then it is novel. Typesetters did not do what these claims cover. Obviousness is another matter. It may or may not be that dynamically scaling different parts of an image on a screen as these claims is obvious over what came before. –  George White May 3 '13 at 20:27

Possibly useful:

BRUSH as a Walkthrough System for Architectural Models International Business Machines Corporation. Research Division, Bengt-Olaf Schneider, Paul Borrel, Jai Menon, Josh Mittleman, Jarek Rossignac 1994



This system displayed large 3D models by dividing the scene into objects and pre-computing a triangulated representation of each object at each of several resolutions. A resolution was chosen based on the virtual distance from the viewport to the object, with the goal that each triangle on the screen would cover approximately the same number of pixels. So this was a system that used pixel resolution to choose among representations of objects to maintain consistent information content per pixel.

share|improve this answer

XFree86 (last release in 2008) included different sets of bitmap fonts for 75dpi and 100dpi operation; the former was intended for low-resolution displays, and the latter for high-resolution (for the time) displays. This functionality was most likely present since X11R4 in 1989, but possibly even earlier.

More recent versions of X11 servers (such as the current X.org server) have extended this to fully variable screen-dpi support which is communicated to the external font renderer (usually FreeType).

Also noteworthy is QuickDraw GX, first released in January 1995, which implemented resolution-independent rendering on the Macintosh. This was mostly meant to allow rendering to a low-resolution screen and a high-resolution printer using the same commands. It didn't work as well as it should have, but the idea was definitely there, and was explicitly a feature of QuickDraw GX in contrast to ordinary QuickDraw.

share|improve this answer

The patent seems to be intended to cover re-scaling selected elements (like folder icons) so that the layout appears the same under different resolutions (i.e., when I increase the resolution of my screen, the icons don't all shrink and move up and to the left, or worse, rearrange themselves when I decrease the resolution.)

"The presentation therefore includes elements with approximately the same visual dimensions on different display components, regardless of the sizes, pixel dimensions, and/or pixel densities of the display components."

Is this patent application really that limited?

share|improve this answer

I realise the application has already been finally rejected, but I want to add another important piece of prior art anyway: JPEG2000, from… 2000. Any compliant decoder must be able to scale and composite an image stored at multiple resolutions.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.