You may have heard about “prior art”. In patent law, prior art is basically all information made available publicly before a date which might be relevant to a patent’s claims of originality. Hence, if any invention can be described in prior art, its patent can be invalidated. Samsung is resorting to some pretty sci-fi (literally!) arguments in its legal spat with the Cupertino gadget maker, having gone as far as citing Stanley Kubrick’s ’2001: A Space Odyssey’ movie as prior art against Apple’s tablet.

The finding, discovered by intellectual property expert Florian Mueller on his blog FOSS Patents, stems from page two of an exhibit Samsung filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The document reads:

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.

The prior art claim is in Samsung’s defense against Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The company recently claimed in a Dutch court that Apple doctored Galaxy smartphone images.

Cross-posted on 9to5Mac.com

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