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Apple Stole iPad Idea from Stanley Kubrick's 2001, Samsung Argues

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. | Last updated on

Samsung's iPad dispute with Apple has taken a creative turn. Samsung is now alleging that someone else dreamed up the iPad - Stanley Kubrick, director of the classic science fiction film  2001: A Space Odyssey.

Samsung and Apple have been locked in disputes across the globe over their respective tablet computers.

Apple has been trying to block Samsung from selling some of its tablet computer and smartphone devices. They claim that the iPad's tablet design is exclusive to Apple. Currently, they're seeking to get four of Samsung's devices blocked from sale in the United States.

Now Samsung is throwing out their Kubrick defense.

Essentially, Samsung is alleging that Kubrick's 1969 film depicted a tablet computer that looked startling similar to an iPad, according to ComputerWorld.

Skeptical? Well, check out this relatively short minute-long scene from 2001 that depicts two astronauts eating a meal while simultaneously using tablet computers.

The tablets shown in Kubrick's 2001 do look a bit like the iPad. The film depicts a flat, rectangular tablet with a large screen and thin borders.

If the U.S. court actually buys into Samsung's argument and considers Kubrick's futuristic "tablet" from 1969 prior art, then Apple's tablet concept certainly isn't too "novel."

And, maybe not even patent-worthy.

But, will a court really want to buy into Samsung's Kubrick argument?

Not likely. It could open up the floodgates of patent-litigation, as ComputerWorld points out. Sci-fi junkies might start digging through their favorite novella or television series trying to find other instances of "prior art" to undermine patents.

So, Samsung's iPad argument might fall a bit flat in federal court. Was the iPad Kubrick's "invention"? Maybe a tablet computer was one of Kubrick's creative innovations in the movie. But, that doesn't necessarily translate to Apple losing its patent rights.

[9/19/2011, 4:31 p.m. PST. Editor's note: While Samsung largely credited Kubrick for dreaming up the iPad, an intrepid reader has pointed out that science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke may also deserve a credit here. Clarke did write the novel and co-wrote the screenplay with Kubrick, after all. No word yet on whether Samsung will amend its pleading accordingly. A hat tip to our always well-informed readers.]

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