Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” Cited in Apple vs. Samsung

Back in April, Apple filed suit in California against Samsung for patent violation, claiming that the latter’s Galaxy line of phones and tablets bore too much resemblance to its own iPhones and iPads. This is a tangled matter, as perhaps are most patent disputes among the biggies: for one thing, Apple is a large buyer of Samsung’s products, accounting for 4% of the the company’s revenue last year and likely more this year. At the moment, according to Foss Patents, where you’ll find a list, there are 19 ongoing lawsuits around the world between these two companies

Recently in the California suit Samsung filed material that included a brief clip from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey in order to demonstrate prior art — that the design of the iPad had, in effect, been anticipated by Kubrick. Have a look and see what you think. Here’s part of the accompanying text from Samsung, again thanks to Foss Patents:

As with the design claimed by the Dā€™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.

Can’t say I’m blown away by the resemblance. In fact, these seem so thin and so precisely arranged at reflex angles that at first I thought they were screens embedded within the black table; if it weren’t for the tiny amount that one corner of the left device extends beyond the edge of the table, I wouldn’t have been aware they were meant to be separate objects. Funny about the black and white news video.


  1. Antonin I. Pribetic

    [choosing sandwiches from a cooler while flying over the lunar surface]
    Dr. Floyd: What’s that? Chicken?
    Dr. Bill Michaels: Something like that. Tastes the same anyway.

    Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey