Samsung Cites 2001: A Space Odyssey To Prove iPad Not Original

We haven’t really been covering the ongoing legal debate between Samsung and Apple about if Samsung stole their look shamelessly from Apple — mostly because it’s been remarkably dull going. Some victories, some defeats, some dodgy aspect rations, etc. However, this is at least a little cool. The excellent FOSS Patents blog has fished out that Samsung is using the excellent Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey to prove that Apple’s design for the iPad wasn’t totally original.

Attached hereto as Exhibit D is a true and correct copy of a still image taken from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film “2001: A Space Odyssey.” In a clip from that film lasting about one minute, two astronauts are eating and at the same time using personal tablet computers. The clip can be downloaded online athttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8pQVDyaLo. As with the design claimed by the D’889 Patent, the tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (which is evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table’s surface), and a thin form factor.

IIRC, when the iPad first launched, people drew comparisons between the 2001 tablets and the Apple version, as well as the PADD from Star Trek. Does this count as prior art? That’s a whole different question — can something seen on screen for one minute in a film be enough to undo an entire design process? We’ll see if the courts agree.

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Tim Barribeau is a freelance writer on the science and technology beat. You can find his work throughout the internet.

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