Samsung Cites 'Space Odyssey' Newspad Against iPad In Patent Suit

Samsung has used a still frame from Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey in their opposition brief to Apple's motion to stop sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the United States.

The intent is to cite Kubrick's work as prior art that should be counted against Apple's efforts to patent the iPad's design. Take a look at this film representation of Arthur C. Clarke's Newspad; what do you think?

(The Newspads seen in Kubrick's film)

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 As with the design claimed by the Dí889 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 is the clip mentioned in the legal document; note that the Newspads also play video clips.

Here is a more complete description from Arthur C. Clarke's novel 2001: A Space Odyssey:

When he tired of official reports and memoranda and minutes, he would plug his foolscap-sized Newspad into the ship's information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up the world's major electronic papers; he knew the codes of the more important ones by heart, and had no need to consult the list on the back of his pad. Switching to the display unit's short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him.

Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage-stamp-sized rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he had finished, he would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.

Floyd sometimes wondered if the Newspad, and the fantastic technology behind it, was the last word in man's quest for perfect communications. Here he was, far out in space, speeding away from Earth at thousands of miles an hour, yet in a few milliseconds he could see the headlines of any newspaper he pleased. (That very word "newspaper," of course, was an anachronistic hangover into the age of electronics.) The text was updated automatically on every hour; even if one read only the English versions, one could spend an entire lifetime doing nothing but absorbing the ever-changing flow of information from the news satellites.
(Read more about Clarke's Newspad)

I'd also cite the similarity between the names iPad and Newspad. I note in passing that this passage is also the earliest mention of the idea of small representational icons used to stand for computer files that I know about. Alan Kay doesn't present the idea of the Desktop metaphor at Xerox PARC until 1970.

Via Foss Patents.

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