No, you didn't read the headline wrong -- Samsung is claiming their Galaxy Tab 10.1 couldn't be a copy of Apple's iPad because... it was copying the earlier movie prop from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Well, okay, not copying -- more like maintaining the design elements were commonplace in pop culture, especially science fiction. One of the ways to invalidate a patent is to prove prior art -- that someone had the idea before the company who was awarded the patent.
Since everyone from HAL's buddy Dave to the Enterprise D's Captain Jean Luc Picard used tablet-like devices, Samsung seems to be asking, how could Apple possibly have been granted the design patent?
Florian Mueller of FOSS Patents stops short of calling it either genius or a stunt.
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.
Hopefully Samsung hasn't seen Dick Tracy or Apple's nano watch might be next!