Samsung: Apple got iPad design from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Apple and Samsung are currently in a major legal battle over patent disputes that could keep Samsung's smartphones and tablets from being sold here in the US. In July, Apple asked the US courts for an injunction to prevent devices being sold in America; including Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet. Now, it looks like Samsung has offered a defense against Apple's proposed injunction and according to a post in FOSS Patents Samsung is using a classic sci-fi movie as one of its defense points.

The movie in question is 2001: A Space Odyssey. Released in 1968, it is still named by some movie critics as the best science fiction film ever made. Directed by Stanley Kubrick and written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, the movie depicts man's fictional contact with an unseen alien species from prehistoric times to the "near" future (at least near in 1968). Part of the movie takes place on board the Discovery, a spaceship making a trip to Jupiter.

Its this part of the movie that has a sequence that Samsung is using in its defense. We see astronauts David Bowman and Frank Poole having some dinner and watching what looks like a flat screen video display. The display seems to double as a computing device. According to Samsung's description, "[...] 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."

Basically, Samsung is saying that Apple's iPad design (which Apple claims Samsung is infringing on with its Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet) was in fact was inspired by the tablet devices depicted in 2001: A Space Odyssey. On one hand, the devices in the film do have some resemblance to modern tablet PCs which is remarkable for a movie released over 40 years ago. However, on the other hand one does wonder if a court would take Samsung's defense seriously.

Image via MGM

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Rumor: AT&T to dump Facebook-themed HTC Status smartphone already

Next Story

Facebook and Twitter report record number of visitors in July

40 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

SPEhosting said,
apple are afraid cause they are now losing the tablet war so they are trying to stop everyone else rather then out smarting their products

They are? Last I checked stores have a hardtime keeping the ipad2 in stock, and it is by far the most popular tablet. Really losing.

The only time that other companies copied Apple was in 80's with the Apple 2 PC.
The Home PC with a screen & keyboard clearly it was their idea then IBM started and every other companies.
This war with tablets is wrong. Tablets existed since early 2000's and HP was the first company to release a Tablet with a detachable keyboard and Windows XP.
Also many companies could have taken their own designs of digital frames.
Digital frames have similar sizes and some come with a touchscreen.
Samsung could have said "we took our designs from our digital frames and added android, multiple touchscreen and android".

Again this war is wrong. It causes frustration and makes some users not to ever buy an apple product ever again

Sadly i wish the average person knew how bad Apple was being about this, because all i see everyday is the word iPad becoming a defacto noun for tablet computers much like Apple managed to do with iPod as the noun for MP3 players.

When will this childish back-and-forth bickering between Apple and Samsung end?? They're like two stupid kids that point fingers at each other saying "He started it!!" Apple is the bully in this situation trying to bash the competition using the dirtiest tactics known to the corporate world.

Seriously, i read tech news everyday. My reaction is to HATE Apple and its products. Apple never innovates, Steve has been pulling this crap since Apples early days. Apple invented the GUI, no it didnt! Apple invented the digital music player, wrong! Apple invented the tablet PC, once again tell that to the people who were using xp tablets back in the early to mid 2000's. This white headphone culture we are in is so rediculous. I hope all the other companies ,including samsung, do well and Apple collapses and returns back to its 90's state.

Iridium said,
Seriously, i read tech news everyday. My reaction is to HATE Apple and its products. Apple never innovates, Steve has been pulling this crap since Apples early days. Apple invented the GUI, no it didnt! Apple invented the digital music player, wrong! Apple invented the tablet PC, once again tell that to the people who were using xp tablets back in the early to mid 2000's. This white headphone culture we are in is so rediculous. I hope all the other companies ,including samsung, do well and Apple collapses and returns back to its 90's state.

This!

Iridium said,
Seriously, i read tech news everyday. My reaction is to HATE Apple and its products. Apple never innovates, Steve has been pulling this crap since Apples early days. Apple invented the GUI, no it didnt! Apple invented the digital music player, wrong! Apple invented the tablet PC, once again tell that to the people who were using xp tablets back in the early to mid 2000's. This white headphone culture we are in is so rediculous. I hope all the other companies ,including samsung, do well and Apple collapses and returns back to its 90's state.

It's greeniculous!

Iridium said,
Seriously, i read tech news everyday. My reaction is to HATE Apple and its products. Apple never innovates, Steve has been pulling this crap since Apples early days. Apple invented the GUI, no it didnt! Apple invented the digital music player, wrong! Apple invented the tablet PC, once again tell that to the people who were using xp tablets back in the early to mid 2000's. This white headphone culture we are in is so rediculous. I hope all the other companies ,including samsung, do well and Apple collapses and returns back to its 90's state.

It's greeniculous!

the big question i see is, if samsung had been the first to the market with these type of tablets and not apple, would they have still designed it the way they did? OR does Apple have that much influence on the industry.

While it is seen by many as a reach, I can see Samsung invoke prior art or something like that. I'm not against anyone here, but Apple claiming their design was/is being stolen by Samsung is indeed outrageous. You can only make a device in so many ways and in the end and this kind of devices all look similar to one another.

Article could have been shortened a bit..anyone reading neowin surely has seen 2001 as it is one of the coolest movies ever produced.

And, as usual, CNN, who reports all things Apple, has failed to report this important news--just like how they failed to report Apple's photoshopping of the Samsung tablets and phones.

"However, on the other hand one does wonder if a court would take Samsung's defense seriously."

I don't see why they wouldn't take it seriously. I don't think Samsung is trying to make the point that Apple ripped off 2001. I think Samsung is trying to argue that the idea, form factor and functionality of a tablet computer was already well formed by science fiction decades before the technology to actually create one existed. It then follows that any expression of these ideas is merely drawing from the already established concept of a tablet and is therefore not original enough to be patentable.

geoken said,
"However, on the other hand one does wonder if a court would take Samsung's defense seriously."

I don't see why they wouldn't take it seriously. I don't think Samsung is trying to make the point that Apple ripped off 2001. I think Samsung is trying to argue that the idea, form factor and functionality of a tablet computer was already well formed by science fiction decades before the technology to actually create one existed. It then follows that any expression of these ideas is merely drawing from the already established concept of a tablet and is therefore not original enough to be patentable.


Exactly, I think this strategy will work out quite well in Samsungs favor. I am not a hater of either company or products but Apple's tactics lately have left a lot to be desired. I would like that company dealt a bit of humble pie.

All Samsung needs to stick with is that bad Photoshop job Apple did when they tried to make Samsungs tablets look more like an iPad by changing the size and screen.

Pretty crazy any court could take this seriously though. IMHO lawsuits like this just show that the company (Apple in this case) are scared of Samsung taking sales. Another funny thing is that when iOS 5 is out, iPads will start to resemble Android tabs a little bit more with the notification bar and stuff like that. Oh the irony

I have seen and tried every so-called Android tablet out there and I am sorry if this offends some of you sensitive people, but the Android tablets suck in comparison to the iPad. Why waste $499.00 on a Samsung tablet when you can buy an iPad for the same amount of money?

Scorbing said,
I have seen and tried every so-called Android tablet out there and I am sorry if this offends some of you sensitive people, but the Android tablets suck in comparison to the iPad. Why waste $499.00 on a Samsung tablet when you can buy an iPad for the same amount of money?

Are you saying the Playbook or TouchPad or a Windows Tablet is better than an Android Tablet?

Scorbing said,
I have seen and tried every so-called Android tablet out there and I am sorry if this offends some of you sensitive people, but the Android tablets suck in comparison to the iPad. Why waste $499.00 on a Samsung tablet when you can buy an iPad for the same amount of money?

I have seen and tried ipad tablet out there and I am sorry if this offends some of you sensitive people, but the iPad suck in comparison to the samsung tab 10.1 . Why waste $499.00 on a iPad when you can buy a Samsung tab 10.1 for the same amount of money?

Scorbing said,
I have seen and tried every so-called Android tablet out there and I am sorry if this offends some of you sensitive people, but the Android tablets suck in comparison to the iPad. Why waste $499.00 on a Samsung tablet when you can buy an iPad for the same amount of money?

Most android tablets do suck indeed. But clearly the samsung galaxy tab does not suck enough for apple to leave it alone.

However, on the other hand one does wonder if a court would take Samsung's defense seriously.
on the first hand, one has to wonder how a court could take Apple seriously to begin with.

greenwizard88 said,
on the first hand, one has to wonder how a court could take Apple seriously to begin with.

exactly. I think they're mocking Apple, because there were plenty of slate Tablet PC's before iPad in the market.

This patent war is getting really silly.
What would a damn tablet look like if not what it is? A crystal ball? An oval screen over a cylinder? Would it still be a tablet?

Luis Mazza said,
This patent war is getting really silly.
What would a damn tablet look like if not what it is? A crystal ball? An oval screen over a cylinder? Would it still be a tablet?

I think that is the point. There is only so many ways to do something andbSamsung is implying Apple's iPad is far from original. Most chairs have 4 legs, just makes sense.

Rooster69 said,

I think that is the point. There is only so many ways to do something andbSamsung is implying Apple's iPad is far from original. Most chairs have 4 legs, just makes sense.

I should make a chair, and then sue all the other chair-making companies... Their chairs look so similar to mine... The 4 legs, the back part, the area you can sit on...

Luis Mazza said,
This patent war is getting really silly.
What would a damn tablet look like if not what it is? A crystal ball? An oval screen over a cylinder? Would it still be a tablet?

Yes, it's getting beyond silly!