Samsung claims Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey as prior iPad art

Samsung claims Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey as prior iPad art

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!

[FOSS Patents]

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Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Samsung claims Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey as prior iPad art

18 Comments

I do believe everything we've seen in our life shapes our decisions so this may not be too far off ["the iPad isn't outright original" isn't a stretch].
With that said....please have something else Samsung!

I hope they win.. Apple is great.. but they're getting out of hand. Every touchscreen phone is the same.. so why not say.. oops, we had it first.. NO other company can now have a touchscreen phone. Obviously, they aren't having any type of problem with sales.. now they're just making themselves look ridiculous.

I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2-64GB and my boyfriend loves his Panasonîc Lumîx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by UPS.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch LED TV to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.Here is the website we use to get it all from, http://BídsFírst.Com

It is a huge longshot that Samsung would win this argument, but if they did it would completely destroy the Lodsys argument and lawsuits as the human brain does everything Lodsys is holding patents on.

Ugh, I hate to defend Lodsys here but the one crucial difference is that Lodsys' patents are functional (allegedly), whereas Apple is suing Samsung in the EU on the basis of patented design (trade dress and appearance). Since in the current suit the design is all that is at stake, prior similar looking (similarly designed) devices may in fact qualify as a prior art defense against Apple.
Though agreed with others who think it is a long shot.

There are certain critical elements of the patented design that are not visible in the photo above, so this photo does not anticipate the patented design. Would it have been obvious from the photo? I'm not up to the minute on the case law of design patent obviousness.

For something to qualify as prior art wouldn't it have to be something other than a fictitious movie prop? I mean, when someone invents a handheld medical diagnostic tool, will it be unpatentable thanks to Gene Roddenberry's vision of the Star Trek tricorder? This is actually a fascinating subject (patent law). I'm interested to see exactly how this goes.

There is a difference between a utility patent and a design patent. Utility covers the function of something, design only covers what it looks like (in very basic terms).