Apple’s patent infringement case against Samsung for ‘slavish copying’ of the iPhone and iPad and their trade dress, packaging etc is interesting for all sorts of reasons.

What seems unquestionable is that there was no consumer product available in the past that resembled Apple’s iPad and that manufacturers like Samsung, HTC etc (ha!) were ‘inspired’ by Apple’s designs. But what about the future? Or, past ideas of the future, like Star Trek (very clunky eClipboards masquerading as iPads, chunky, flip-phone-style ‘Communicators’ were better at standing in for iPhones) or, hey, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey?

Well, wonder no more. This extract of Samsung’s recent filing from FOSSPatents reveals …. well, do you think it’s a smoking gun? In 1968?

Samsung cites Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' movie as prior art against iPad design patent ( - click)

This is how the related [Samsung] declaration [to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California] 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. 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.

Sooo… Will it be laughed out of court or seen as a slam dunk?
What do you think?

– P