The ongoing court battle between Apple and Samsung has been nothing short of entertaining. From Samsung’s request to see the iPhone 5, to Apple’s European Union injunction, the case has been full of action. And it’s not over by any means.

The latest twist in the copycat lawsuit takes the entertainment to a whole new level. Since Apple claims that Samsung copied its tablet design with the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Samsung is claiming Apple copied science fiction

“Prior art.” It’s a legal term, used in patent law, that refers to evidence of an invention before a patented invention. If an invention has been described in prior art, a patent on that invention is not valid.

That being said, FOSSPatents reported yesterday that Samsung revealed evidence of prior art to the iPad in their latest court filing. But it didn’t involve a patent, or an invention. It involved a movie.

In Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, two characters are seen using a thin, all-screen computing device that resembles an iPad. In fact, Samsung believes the two look so much alike, that they admitted it as evidence in the lawsuit.

“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. 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 fact.”

Ultra-thin computer tablets have long sense been used in Hollywood and science fiction. The Next Web points out examples in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Incredibles, an animated film from Jobs-owned Pixar.

Obviously, Samsung’s case isn’t built solely around the movie evidence. But it does raise an interesting point. Is anyone copying Apple’s tablet design? Or is the tablet just a natural evolution of the personal computer?

  • It seems reasonable to me. If Apple is claiming that they own the design of the tablet computer, then pointing out previous instances of similar design, even in fiction, works. It limits Apple to claiming that they own details about implementation, as opposed to the layout and style of the thing.

    • Yes Otto, I agree!

      I have been thinking this for some time – in fact since Moto introduced their “flip” phone a decade+ ago…..

      I’m just surprised that it took Samsung to put 2+2 together and “bitch-slap” Apple with their nonsense lawsuits.

      After all, design Patents are really difficult to enforce anyways.

      What really matters is what is inside – if Apple were to open up a Samsung tablet, and see identical engineering, then call out the HOUNDS…. errr, I meant “Lawyers”!!!!

      – Eric

      • Burge

        They had flip phones ….startrek…

  • HEY!!!!

    (THIS) Is anyone copying Apple’s tablet design? Or is the tablet just a natural evolution of the personal computer?
    IS the probably the most logical explanation that i can conclude as well.
    evolution of tech full stop. think about it the clothing industry does not sue each other (ERM YOU COPIED MY JEANS SHAPE OR T-SHIRT) or ford and other car makers (HEY MAN YOUR CAR HAS 4 WHEELS LIKE MINE AND WHATS THAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ITS GOT A FUCKING PISTON AND A STEERING WHEEL) so…………………………

    • haha

      haha
      +1

    • Ken

      +2

    • iamlynda

      ++++ Geeze! Samsung & Apple are bickering little little girls. GET On with development and getting your products out to the people who want them already! They are just ridiculous!

  • DomPerignon

    It’s becoming more ridiculous every day.

  • soccerkrzy

    I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.

    • AppleBits

      Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

  • Fabio Rodrigues

    As I heard before “Nada se cria, tudo se copia” wich means “Nothing is created, everything is a copy of something”. a guy said in other “MGM studios should sue Apple and Samsung”:D kkkkk

    • Isaac

      The sentence is “nada se crea, todo se copia”. Just to keep the grammar of spanish

  • Burge

    Well it wasn’t apple who made the first hand held mobile phone….do they own the copy right to that..,? This is now taking the piss….
    Who made the first computer ? It wasn’t ether of the 2 ….

    Can your phone do text messages ? Well that’s was first done by a Brit who worked for Vidafone…are they going to sue all the phone makers ? For allowing this on there devices ..I think not…Apple and Samsung are behaving like little kids in a playground fight…

  • Jason Masters

    To quote from a valid credible source
    ” What has been will be again,
       what has been done will be done again;
       there is nothing new under the sun.”

    • Isaac

      Ecclesiastes haha true true

  • Aaron

    Hey!!!: “(THIS) Is anyone copying Apple’s tablet design? Or is the tablet just a natural evolution of the personal computer?
    IS the probably the most logical explanation that i can conclude as well.
    evolution of tech full stop. think about it the clothing industry does not sue each other (ERM YOU COPIED MY JEANS SHAPE OR T-SHIRT) or ford and other car makers (HEY MAN YOUR CAR HAS 4 WHEELS LIKE MINE AND WHATS THAT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ITS GOT A FUCKING PISTON AND A STEERING WHEEL) so…………………………”

    +3

  • Emre SUMENGEN

    Apple is not suing Samsung because they also have a tablet…

    The lawsuit is for their very-much-alike replica of Apple’s product.

    I mean, tablets existed way before iPad or iPhone… But the design elements, the ui elements are what differentiates each product. And, actually, let’s talk honest… There are not many differentiators (at eye sight) between Tab 10.1″ and iPad 2, are there?

    And, iPad 2 was first out (as I know), so this sh*t is nonsense as Samsung itself.

    • Sean

      +1,000,000

    • ms

      Should Groupon sue its counterparts then? They are very much alike replica too

  • numbnuts

    how is this evidence? all i see here are two guys watching a small flat screen tv, there is no interaction between them and it, there seems no user interface, therefore how can they be tagged as a personal tablets? how about we ask how have all flat screen tv designers got away with copying this style of hardware!

  • Pringle

    Man the sentence is “NADA SE CRIA, TUDO SE COPIA” and it is PORTUGUESE not spanish

    Well when someone creates a small and portable flat screen TV then they can use this movie scene as evidence… Come on GET REAL

  • ras

    Apple knows that they are gonna lose so they are sueing other companys !