It’s fascinating to examine the point at which an element of science fiction actually comes true. Apple is in a legal struggle with Samsung to prevent it from selling tablet devices that resemble the iPad. Samsung’s defense: The iPad is in fact ripped off from a tablet design created by Stanley Kubrick for 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. FOSS Patents writes:
Late last night, Samsung filed its opposition brief to Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the United States.
One element of Samsung’s defense strategy is interesting enough that I wanted to report on it beforehand. Ever since Apple started to assert the design of the iPad against other manufacturers, many people have been wondering 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 indeed, Samsung’s lawyers make this claim now 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.
It would be amazing if the court agreed with Samsung that this constitutes prior art for that particular iPad-related design patent. Whether or not Samsung will succeed, the mere fact that they proffer this kind of evidence is remarkable and will be exciting for many fans of movies in general — and of that movie in particular — to find out about.