Samsung lawyers just have too much time on their hands. Florian Mueller over at FOSS Patents notes that late last night Samsung filed a brief in opposition to an Apple suit against the company claiming that the iPad is not original. In fact, the brief claims that there is 'prior art' in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The filing notes that in a scene in the movie, the two astronauts are shown eating and watching the news on a device that looks like an iPad. You can watch a clip from the film here.
"As with the design claimed by the [Apple 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," Samsung said.
Actually, Steve Sande pointed out the tablet device here at TUAW last January (Samsung, expect our bill shortly). The difference is that Steve knew Kubrick's version was fictional, and not a real invention.
If successful, Samsung could invalidate the Apple patent that is irritating the company and driving them to tactics like this. I'm not holding my breath that a court will rule for Samsung. Perhaps they should consult with the HAL 9000 computer before going too much farther down this road, or did Apple copy HAL, too?