Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

Summary: Samsung has told a US court that Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey showed tablets that predate Apple's efforts by decades.

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Apple and Samsung are engaged in numerous legal battles in nine countries at the moment. One of them is in the District Court for the Northern District of California, where Apple is trying to have four Samsung smartphones and tablets banned from the US due to alleged design patent infringement.

However, Samsung has struck back by saying there are precedents for the tablet designs that Apple claims should be exclusive to the iPad. One such example of 'prior art' can be found in Kubrick's 1968 classic, where characters are seen using devices that are, to all intents and purposes, tablet computers.

Samsung's filing on Monday was picked up by patents expert Florian Mueller, who also noted Apple's original filing for a preliminary injunction against its Korean rival. The opposition brief includes a link to a YouTube clip showing the 2001 devices in question.

For more on this story, read Samsung: Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design on ZDNet UK.

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Samsung, Tablets

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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29 comments
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  • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

    Why doesn't Apple just patent "a device with a shape that does computations."

    That way, they'll have no competition! Hooray!
    Droid101
    • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

      @Droid101
      I would laugh, but the patent system makes me too mad.
      rossdav
    • Jobs go find yourself a new job..

      so the only reason apple would file for patent infringement is to avoid competition, because they know they arent the only one with creativity in product designs...lame dashers..
      touqeer9045
    • Job needs a new job...

      @Droid101 so the only reason apple would file for patent infringement is to avoid competition, because they know they arent the only one with creativity in product designs...lame dashers..
      touqeer9045
    • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

      @Droid101 is spot on. The judge should be obligated to rule on specifically what patent and claims were infringed upon. On the surface this makes no sense since, as Droid101 notes, the design is simplicity itself and the patent is so generic as to rule out any rectangular computing device, and probably smart phones too. We are lucky apple didn't put a cover on the IPAD or all laptops would have been infringing. Something just isn't right with a system that lets this happen. There is very little in software or computer physical design that isn't built on prior work. While they are at it, the original microprocessor was a square (a subset of rectangle) and had some graphic shapes on the top, so why not give Intel or Texas Instruments the right to block all computer devices from the market.
      jdubow9
  • Job$ is caught pants down

    with undeniable and obvious prior art!
    The Linux Geek
    • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

      @The Linux Geek Seen the clip? Those aren't computers, they are video displays. Everything you see is a video feed (supposedly from the BBC). There is no touch interface, no icon grid, nothing remotely "iPad" about it.

      This is their defence?

      Trying to claim 2001 is prior art on an Apple product is to miss the most damn obvious thing when looking at the film in retrospect: Everything is "single use" in Kubrick's 2001 no display has more than a single purpose, HAL is covered in screens, each shows a different thing. What nobody could imagine then was an OS like Mac OS (Okay, Xerox's Smalltalk system to be more precise). You can't possibly claim 2001 as prior art to anything that happened after the Mac.
      Jeremy-UK
      • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

        @Jeremy-UK Um... unless what Apple is trying to claim is the rights to the entire DESIGN CONCEPT of ANY glass-faced rectangular object which looks like a tablet, which is clearly show in prior art going back to the 1960's.

        If you want an Apple "invention" - by all means, defend their very nice and innovative magnetic intelligent charging cable for the MacBook Pro.

        If you want to be stupid, support them as they insist that anything which looks like a rectangular glass faced display with minimal or no buttons is something THEY came up with, when it's stunningly obvious that the idea had long been in the public domain, and Apple simply shipped a very good example of it in the form of the iPad which is dominant in it's market and doesn't NEED protection by banning similar looking products that are failing ON THEIR OWN. WebOS.... ever hear of it?
        spark555
  • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

    Well we should be thankful Apple or Oracle did not patent the toilet seat!
    Lord_of_the_Singhs
  • How dumb can they get?

    The notion that devices described in works of science fiction are now unpatentable is, as the judge is likely to say, "frivolous and without merit." It's doubtful that there is a single actual invention in the last 50 years that was not described previously in some science fiction story. Samsung's move is beyond stupid. An idea for something that cannot be realized using the technologies of the day is not "prior art." It's fantasy.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

      @Robert Hahn
      Another Fantasy: the Galaxy Tab look and feel is the same as the iPad.

      Galaxy Tab is meant to be used in Landscape mode. Galaxy tab has widgets and at-a-glance info.

      iPad is meant to be used in portrait mode. iPad has a grid of icons.

      Get real.
      Droid101
      • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

        I presume those are the sorts of arguments that Samsung is making to the judge. At least when they're being serious. Will the judge be persuaded by them? We'll have to wait and see. At least two other judges in two other countries have ruled in favor of Apple, so it's not quite as cut-and-dried as you make it seem.
        Robert Hahn
      • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

        @Droid101 The iPad works in both orientations.

        Get educated.
        Jeremy-UK
    • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

      @Robert Hahn
      You don't even understand the issue here....

      This isn't about 'the concept of a tablet computer'.....Apple couldn't patent that if they wanted to because tablets were around a decade before the iPad....this is about the DESIGN of the iPad....Apple is claiming that the iPad design is unique and original and nobody else can use it, in this case the fact that Apple didn't invent that look is highly relevant
      Doctor Demento
      • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

        Maybe I understand the issue better than you think. Samsung's claims for what is depicted in the clip are largely red herrings. "A black rectangle," etc. The design patent is quite a bit more detailed than that, involving borders, beveling, corner shapes... none of which are evident in the clip from 2001. ZDNet is full of people who think that Apple is trying to patent the rectangle. So maybe they will be fooled by this. The judge won't be.

        The fine print on design patents also includes the stipulation that the object be a manufactured item that is functional. I don't think a movie prop from a science fiction film is going to meet that test.
        Robert Hahn
    • That's not true.

      @Robert Hahn
      [i]An idea for something that cannot be realized using the technologies of the day is not "prior art." It's fantasy[/i]

      That's not true. "Prior Art" extends to the cinema - Apple can not claim they invented the concept of the tablet if something was on screen before which did it first.

      In this case, say with an episode of Star Trek in which a boy is watching a home video on a tablet much like what the iPad is, it's clear the writer and tech artist (real live humans)created the concept so that's prior art.

      Prior art also relates to an idea or product that was created but never patented, and therfore can not be reproduced and patented.

      Well, the writers of Star Trek created the concept, and instead of patenting it, made a mockup and placed it in a TV show.

      At this point Steve Jobs can't just come along and take the idea and patent the concept - he obviouslly didn't create the concept, someone else did.
      William Farrell
      • How do you prove who Samsung took the idea from?

        @William Farrell <br>Exactly right. If the concept of a tablet existed 20 years earlier in 2001: Space Odyssey, how could Apple prove that Samsung took the idea from Apple and that the idea for the Galaxy did not come after sitting through that horrific movie? Maybe Kubrick could go after Samsung but Apple can't.<br><br>It would be like Apple going after Microsoft for designs that Apple, ahem, "borrowed" from Xerox.<br><br>Oh yeah. That actually happened. Apple lost that one too.
        toddybottom
      • RE: Samsung defense: Stanley Kubrick beat Apple to iPad design

        @William Farrell Apple didn't have a Tablet computer made in 2004, it was just an idea by them then, many others did though. Fujitsu, Motion Computing, earlier IBM, Samsung etc. (GridPad was based on Samsung design and manufactured by them). Look at Motion M1400 or 2003 M1300 to see how slate Tablet PCs in the market place looked back then. It even hints at curved corners. Slates are truly a new unconceivable concept in design? Not by that filing at least. Other convertible tabletpcs clearly had a bezel with rounded corners on them too. Fujitsu's and others slates had already been producing slate tablets with rounded corners. It's just a stream line version of that era tech. It conveys nothing new. You can't really get protection with something that already looks like everything else. You would need unique shapes.
        Penti
  • Close ups of 2001 look nothing like iPad, had rows of Buttons

    1) closeups of the 'tablet' in 2001 and lightened up shows that it looks nothing like the iPad.<br>It has a thin bezel around the edges and a big fat one at the bottom with a row of square buttons (about 10) lit up with lights.<br><br><a href="http://photos.appleinsider.com/2001.082311.jpg" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://photos.appleinsider.com/2001.082311.jpg" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://photos.appleinsider.com/2001.082311.jpg</a></a><br><br>2) the youtube clip shown on Zdnet doesn't show the 'tablet' being used if it's a tablet but it acts more like a TV screen in the table.<br><br>Anyhow even if it's a tablet if samsung built exactly like that with a fat bottom and a row of buttons Apple wouldn't have a problem. It's just that Samsung's current products look exactly like Apple's (except for slight height width ratio) including icons (Apple's uses sunflower icon, samsung uses sunflower... c'mon!).<br><br>Biege box builders like Samsung are run by bureaucrats who do not understand or value design. They spent no effort or money on it but when they are shocked that design sells they have no clue (like tone deaf trying to sell music) and have to copy.

    Mercedes has no issues with rivals building cars (wheels, engine etc) but will have one if the rivals looks EXACTLY like a Mercedes so you can't tell the difference.
    Davewrite
    • Apple just lost that part of their suit

      @Davewrite
      It looks like both you and Apple were wrong.

      Samsung was right.
      toddybottom