Samsung claims that the iPad design is taken from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Tablets in 2001 A Space Odyssey
"Tablets" in Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey

Samsung is currently caught up in a legal battle with Apple that is trying to prevent them from from selling their Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Europe.

A judgment made in the Regional Court of Dusseldorf in Germany granted Apple a preliminary injunction barring the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1. The judge who made the decision has backed Apple’s assertion that Samsung’s tablets infringe on the patented design of the iPad 2.

Samsung has now chosen to  appeal the court decision and one element of Samsung’s defense strategy is the claim that the iPad is in fact ripped off from a tablet design created by Stanley Kubrick for 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Ever since Apple started to assert the design of the iPad against other manufacturers, many have wondered whether there’s actually prior art for the general design of the iPad in some futuristic devices, shown in sci-fi movies and TV series. And now Samsung’s lawyers make this claim in their defense against Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction.

This is how the related declaration explains why this movie picture is valid prior art for a certain iPad-related design patent:

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…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.

If the court agrees with Samsung that this constitutes prior art for that particular iPad-related design patent or not, only time will tell. It sure would be quite remarkable and also exciting for many sci-fi fans out there.

 

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