The gist of this is, they are trying to claim that storing the "type" of graph or report as metadata to a dataset being reported on is novel and unobvious.

A picture is worth 1K words...Figure 5A and 5B say it all:

enter image description here

What is being claimed as new and non-obvious is defined by the claims.

Claim 1

  1. At a computer system including at least one processor and a memory, a computer-implemented method for selecting and applying data-specific presentations, the method comprising:

    an act of receiving an indication that a visual presentation is to be applied to a specified portion of data;

    an act of analyzing the specified data to determine which of a plurality of data presentations is most relevant for the specified data, the relevance being based on relevancy factors including one or more of the following: end-user profile, structure of the specified data and patterns within the specified data; and

    an act of applying the determined appropriate visual presentation to the specified data.


Does anybody have information (as to prior art) to shoot down this frivolous trolling attempt by the dying borg collective. Thought maybe crystal reports (pre-μsoft) or Wingz, but can't find anything specific. Help end software patents...there is nothing new under the sun!

  • I think they are claiming automatically or semi automatically deciding what graphical representation should be used to display a data set based on the content and structure of the data set.
    – George White
    Jan 12, 2014 at 20:06
  • I think that's what they're trying to claim. What they ACTUALLY claim is "one or more of". Which means that using "one of" will infringe the claim, in the language of patents. Using "End user profile" to determine what style to draw the graph in would be pretty nasty. 15 years from now, somebody could well get away with it. Jan 13, 2014 at 21:46
  • True, and that cuts both ways. If the claim was granted with this wording it could be invalidated by prior art that only used the user profile.
    – George White
    Jan 14, 2014 at 18:19
  • What's the date? I've been teaching statistics for 30 years and and really, this sounds like fish in a barrel.
    – Elin
    Jan 15, 2014 at 2:34

2 Answers 2


This seems in the ballpark.

Automatically populating and/or generating tables using data extracted from files US 8601361


Automatically populating and/or generating tables using data extracted from files is disclosed. In some embodiments, in response to receiving an indication that at least a portion of a data object is desired to be included in a table, a set of one or more data values associated with the data object is selected for inclusion in the table and automatically included as an entry corresponding to the data object in the table. In various embodiments, the table may comprise an existing table and/or a newly generated table.

  • You're a prince, I'm still researching. Thank you.
    – GangstaHog
    Jan 12, 2014 at 21:21

This paper from Oracle seems to be along the same lines.

Selecting the Best Graph Based on Data, Tasks, and User Roles

Enterprise software developers and product managers often have difficulty selecting appropriate graph types for users of business applications. Existing solutions for organizing graph types are not adequately focused on end users and their tasks. We have developed a design pattern that serves as a decision support tool for selecting appropriate graph visualizations based upon characteristics of the data, task, and end users. A series of decision matrices allow the user to rapidly filter acceptable graph types. Images and descriptions of each graph type are shown in the tables along with questions such as whether the data are categorical or quantitative, whether the tasks comprise comparison or identification of trend or totals, and whether the end users are experts or casual users of graphs. While already part of the Oracle usability design pattern framework, the graph selection pattern continues to improve as the result of ongoing usability evaluation.

Also I'll say the idea that there are a series of steps you can take to decide the appropriate kind of graphical representation without a computer is pretty obvious. Here's a sample that outlines a process in words.

  • My view is that being able to do something without a computer doesn't make a particular way of doing it with a computer obvious. Fabric could be made on a hand loom but a mechanized loom was still a world-changing invention.
    – George White
    Jan 15, 2014 at 17:04
  • True that, but in fact this is a pretty simple decision tree. I was noticing that in the SPSS manual there reference to a preselected graph type also, but it is just one sentence and I wasn't sure how much it implied, though they do store a lot of the same information such as data type that Oracle mentions in their product and that anyone selecting a graph would need.
    – Elin
    Jan 16, 2014 at 2:09

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