In its ongoing legal battle with Apple, Samsung has returned fire against Apple's motion for a preliminary injunction that aims to bar some of its phones and Galaxy Tab in the United States.
In a new filing, picked up by intellectual-property tracking blog Foss Patents, Samsung has opposed the preliminary injunction Apple filed for in early July. While the document is sealed at the moment, Foss points to one of the non-sealed exhibits Samsung is using to go up against Apple, which cites Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey" as clear evidence that tablets were an idea long before Apple's 2004 patent design filing:
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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ8pQVDyaLo. 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.
Here's a screen grab from the YouTube clip Samsung links to:
"2001," of course, was also the 1968 work by the late Arthur C. Clarke, who published the book immediately following the release of the film. Apple's iPad wouldn't arrive until its unveiling in January of last year.
Along with the mention of Kubrick, the Samsung filing cites a scene from the 1970s British TV series "The Tomorrow People" depicting a tablet computer as prior art:
Samsung once again notes that the tablet used in that show bears resemblance to the one described in Apple's tablet design patent:
As with the design claimed by the D'889 patent, the patent disclosed in the images has an overall rectangular shape, with a dominant display screen and four evenly rounded corners, a reflective or clear flat front surface with narrow borders which are flush with the screen, edges that are primarily perpendicular to the front surface of the device, a flat black surface (which is evident because the tablet lies flat on the table's surface), and a thin form factor.
The legal back-and-forth between the two technology companies kicked off in April with an Apple lawsuit filed against Samsung in the U.S., alleging that the consumer electronics giant had violated its intellectual property in the design of its mobile devices. That suit takes aim specifically at the Galaxy series of smartphones and tablets, as well as other Samsung smartphones, for "copying" Apple's user interface and design features. Samsung returned the favor a week later, countersuing Apple, alleging that the iPhone and iPad maker was infringing on several of its patents.
More recently, Apple has been maneuvering to get Samsung's products blocked from sale, including a successful injunction against Samsung in most of the European Union that was later temporarily suspended. A more recent filing by Apple in the Netherlands seeks to ban the import and sales of Galaxy smartphones and tablets.