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]

Rene Ritchie

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

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There are 18 comments. Add yours.

Bob2 says:

If that is all they have, Samsung is in deep doggie doo.

johncblandii says:

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!

TRDRACER21 says:

if apple loses witch i think it will apple gonna be force to pay samsung millions for holding them up!!!

eahinrichsen says:

A comically ridiculous defense in a comically ridiculous lawsuit. I kind of love this.

johncblandii says:

BWAHHHHHHHH hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! :-D

rickylee626 says:

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.

Chris says:

I agreee. soemthing Jobs and even android fanboys need to understand.

Chris says:

ha... leave it to Canadians

JOEY Alex says:

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cannedoscar74#IM says:

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.

Dev says:

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.

Ron says:

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.

exp2go says:

I found what apple was doing really low-class, till i read about the case and now i find what apple does just disgusting: read yourself

Muenzenhamster says:

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.

bg says:

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).

roseventyfour says:

why is apple wasting their time? that samsung thing isn't selling anyway.

ReadWryt says:

I'm personally hoping that, like with the Microsoft/Apple "Look and Feel" GUI wars, Xerox steps in and slams the winner in all this bickering.
...they conceived of all this long before all these other companies...that's what PARC did back then!!