Most likely, I will reference MS Color Picker patent in my patent application. My software will use this color selection feature.

If my patent gets accepted, will MS (or anyone else whose patent I will reference) demand royalties. What about if my software idea is produced, marketed, and sold?


1 Answer 1


The document you linked is only an application. the associated US patent is US9513771B2. This patent is not assigned to Microsoft instead it is owned by WIXCOM Ltd. Whether or not you owe royalties has nothing to do with whether you reference a patent in your patent. It only has to do with whether your product actually implements the invention as claimed by an active patent within the jurisdiction of that patent. In this case, you need to read the claims of US9513771B2 carefully to see if you are implementing what is claimed. To infringe on a claim, you need to implement each and every step in at least one claim. Here is claim one:

  1. A system implementable on a computing device for handling color assignment within a complex document, the system comprising:

    a user interface to facilitate user modification of at least one first color to at least one second color within a previously chosen color scheme for a component of said document, said color scheme having a predetermined number X of principal colors and a predetermined number Y of associated subordinate colors per principal color;

    a color handler to modify said color scheme to produce an updated color scheme to match a perceived brightness of said at least one second color throughout at least a portion of said updated color scheme;

    a color processor to process and apply said updated color scheme at least to said component; and an inheritance processor to implement said modifications according to at least one pre-defined inheritance relationship between said component and at least one other component;

    wherein said color handler comprises a brightness handler to calculate said perceived brightness of said second color; and

    wherein said brightness handler comprises a searcher to search through a perceived brightness graph to find the color parameters required to generate said perceived brightness.

As you can see there is more to this than just the standard color picker. Color pickers used in Microsoft Windows (and on the Macintosh which is relevant prior art) go back far earlier than the 2012-08-06 priority date of this patent. My guess is if you are using the standard color picker provided in, for example, Visual Studio, you should be OK. You could ask Microsoft about the licensing terms of using the built in user interface components of their development software. As always, I recommend that you consult with a patent attorney with respect to freedom-to-operate opinions.

  • This is helpful @eric-shain. Getting lot of ideas racing in my head.
    – Marium
    Dec 8, 2018 at 17:33

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