Apple’s iPad Lawsuit: Samsung Defense Cites “2001: A Space Odyssey”

I am an admirer of the films of Stanley Kubrick, including his 1968 film, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” In a fascinating legal gambit, Samsung, in its defense against Apple’s lawsuit, in which Apple claims Samsung with its Galaxy Tab infringed on Apple’s iPad design, asserts that the basic design for devices like the Tab and iPad find their origins in works such as “2001.” Consequently Apple’s suit has no merit as the idea of the design was not Apple’s alone. The motion included a screen shot from the film as well as a link to YouTube where the lawyers posted a short clip highlighting the thin-screen device Kubrick designed.

Samsung filed an opposition brief to Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the U.S. The image above is page 2 of an exhibit filed by Samsung with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Below is a statement that explains why the movie picture is valid prior art for an 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.

There are other lawsuits revolving around design issues. For example, Christian Louboutin is known for his much sought-after ladies shoes with shiny red-lacquered soles and vertiginous heels. They are seeking an injunction prohibiting the sale of red-soled Yves Saint Laurent shoes.