enter image description here

This Patent Application has received a non-final rejection by the US Patent Office! An initial rejection is part of the typical course of a patent application.

AN OVERBROAD PATENT ON zooming transformations on an electronic display - This application from Prezi seeks to patent the idea of...zooming displays within frames! 10 minutes of your time can help narrow US patent applications before they become patents. Follow @askpatents on twitter to help.

QUESTION - Have you seen anything that was published before 11/17/2011 that discusses:

  • zooming user interfaces with multiple display elements and a frame

If so, please submit evidence of prior art as an answer to this question. We welcome multiple answers from the same individual.

This seems to be an overly broad patent application based mostly or even entirely on known technologies. It tries to patent user triggered moves/transformations to particular points on a canvas using "frames".

The application comes from famous Prezi, Inc., who did the zooming online presentation tool. Although I think this is a nice idea to do for presentations, this patent tries to patent the technologies behind this. I think those are not at all new and, due to its broadness, the patent also prevents other uses.

Publication Number: US 20130132895 A1
Application Number: US 13/298,523
Assignee: Prezi, Inc.
Prior Art Date: Seeking Prior Art predating 11/17/2011

Google Patents link: http://www.google.com/patents/US20130132895

This kind of patent is really problematic for many projects using standart css transforms based on user interaction for zooming and moving including some of my favorite open-source projects like jessyink, impress.js or reveal.js to name a few. This could even affect page swipes seen on many mobile devices where a div(=frame) is moved into the current view.

Claim 1 requires each and every step below:

A method to edit a display screen of a zooming user interface system comprising:

  1. receiving a user request to transform a set of display elements that are displayed on a display screen encompassed by a frame;

  2. in response to receipt of the user request, producing an information structured in a non-transitory storage device that indicates each display element of the set of display elements that is displayed on the display screen encompassed by the frame;

  3. transforming each display element indicated by the information structure.

In English this means:

A method to zoom into a set of display elements, comprising:

  1. User requests a transformation (e.g. a zoom operation) of elements (e.g. objects) that are displayed on a display screen encompassed by a frame;

  2. Computer creates a data structure with each display element of the set of display elements in accordance with the requested transformation of those elements;

  3. Computer transforms the display element indicated by the data structure.

I think there is quite a lot of prior art for most of the methods claimed:

  • pptplex (Powerpoint plugin to support zoomable slides, around since at least 2008)
  • google maps (around since 2005)
  • jessyink (has views since 2009)
  • prezi itself (they only applied for patent end of 2011)
  • ken burns effect
  • map based games

However, I'm not an expert in patents and especially software patents and there might be patentable parts. So maybe someone can have a closer look at the claims and/or find prior art that even better resembles the methods described:

The patents has claims in three categories:

  1. transforms to specific points in space
  2. doing that with frames
  3. doing 1&2 on a machine with storage

The 1st is clearly prior-art and the 3rd is just a patent specific reformulation of the two others. The 2nd may be more tricky. It seems trivial to go from a center point + scale + rotation (e.g. Gmaps) to the actual view frame. Still there might be more obvious cases of prior art for that. I've seen similar things in iMovie but I don't know when they came up (there is some indication that this was possible before the application: http://web.archive.org/web/20111031001100/http://acomp.stanford.edu/tutorials/imovie_video_editing). Maybe there is even other video software that uses frames to zoom into specific areas. Frames as data structures for containing objects is also prior art as this is what a HTML-div is. And these can be zoomed and rotated using css transforms which were already in the specs/drafts in 2009.

So in my opinion, what prezi really did new is to apply these methods to presentations and this is definitively a good idea (although i'm not sure such an idea is patentable). However, in their claims they do not relate to presentations and I think the generic methods are very wide and not new.

It would be great if someone can comment on this or even find more evidence of prior art.

Thanks a lot!


3 Answers 3


Um, isn't click+drag to zoom a ubiquitous example of these claims?

All three of those claims are trivial, and combining them doesn't create something non-trivial.

Every element in a GUI is already "encompassed by a frame"...the enclosing window. The click+drag is the user request for the other requirement of (1).

Data structures containing the objects (could be pixels or vectors) are already necessarily available (what is already displayed). Whether those are stored on "non-transitory storage devices" or not is trivial; an application may choose to keep certain information in memory or on-disk depending on its needs.

Any application that does click+drag to create a zoom box (Photoshop [objects=pixels], or Illustrator [objects=vectors]) is prior art. The oldest popular example I can think of is the original Macintosh operating system in 1980, based upon the work of Xerox PARC.

  • Makes sense. I love this platform! Thanks!
    – SvenT
    Oct 1, 2013 at 8:30

WO2012113874A1 Seems to covers storing the method of forming the transform specifically in the case of a touch screen. I general I feel most of the methods of this patent are covered for this specific case

  • Thanks! This would mean that finger 1 + 2 comprise the start frame and finger 1 and 3 the end frame, right? Still, the frame could be more explicit, like in the video editing example. (Not sure whether the explicit showing of a frame in the ui is enough to justify a patent)
    – SvenT
    Oct 1, 2013 at 8:33

A small search on Google Prior Art finder led me to this:


It talks about Inter-Views, (multiple views) and switching between them.

  • great! in particular clear in figure 19.
    – SvenT
    Oct 10, 2013 at 9:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .