Samsung cites “2001” as tablet design precedent

The Android legal battles continue, with today seeing a very odd turn taken in the Samsung/Apple case. In defending its case and claiming that Apple didn’t specifically “invent” the concept of a tablet, Samsung has actually submitted a still from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Here’s Samsung’s reason for including the image:

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. The clip can be downloaded online at 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.


Which, in Samsung’s eyes, forms the defence of there being “prior art” for this style of tablet computer, proving BEYOND ALL REASONABLE DOUBT that Apple doesn’t have any more claim to own this form of device than other hardware makers. Amazing.

Link and image via the unbelievably insightful FOSS Patents.

10 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Ha! I wonder if this will result in Apple being sued by the Kubrick and Clarke estates….

  2. kevin

     /  August 23, 2011

    Ahahahahaha! Outstanding. Next up, LG sued by Dick Tracy for stealing his watch communicator design.

  3. bod

     /  August 23, 2011

    I wouldn’t be so quick to praise Florian and his FLOSS Patents blog.

    For some background, his blog’s called FLOSS Patents because he was hired by some free software activists to lobby against software patents in europe. Because that’s his job, changing opinions for money, not software development or lawyering. But he’s no longer being paid by them and no longer fights to prevent/ban software patents. The big unanswered question right now (and it’s been put to him repeatedly) is who’s currently paying him and what for. Whoever it is, they’re getting a great deal of drama and doom and gloom about Android for their money. I’m not saying it’s all unfounded, but quite a lot of the mud he’s thrown has totally failed to stick so take each new revelation with a grain of salt and a second opinion, preferably from an actual lawyer, preferably one that isn’t employed by direct competitors of Android..

    • Gary_C

       /  August 23, 2011

      I’m not sure I sense any kind of “agenda” running through his posts. They seem pretty balanced to me, speaking as the Ultimate Layman on these cases.

      As he’s a consultant, I assumed he’s putting all this research out there for free in the hope of picking up paid work.

    • Mike

       /  August 23, 2011

      Blimey, uptil now I figured the whole internet was full of braindead idiots that really believe all these people on the internet worked for free.

      I’m glad someone still has their head screwed on, and can work out that the internet is just a big advertising news stand, where if you sell news, you will say whatever the highest bidder has to say.

      It’s unfortunate that Apple and Microsoft are the ones with the deepest pockets, as they seem to be buying plenty of “experts” to say what they like people to hear, and of course there is no end of idiots queing up to listen to how wonderful the latest Windows Phone 7 phones are etc etc etc… and how bad Google is. (last year Microsoft spent all their cash to tell people to tell us how evil Sony were by taking away some OS feature).

  4. usbrit

     /  August 23, 2011

    Having “prior art” forms no basis for a legal claim unless the art was protected before public sale or being in the public domain. So no wealthy Dick Tracey or Kubrick and Clarke estates.

  5. Brian

     /  August 23, 2011

    Was the first time I heard of a tablet style of computing,back in the 1990′ s

  6. Brian

     /  August 23, 2011

    Forgot to add this was the Newspad in 1996 and British.Acorn spun off ARM and the rest is history…

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