Sci-fi tech as prior art: Tablets are just the start

Sci-fi technology was recently pointed to in Samsung's court filing defending itself against Apple. CNET takes a look at other tech that has borrowed ideas from science fiction.

These tablets from the 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey" look just like Apple's iPad, Samsung said last week.
These tablets from the 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey" look just like Apple's iPad, Samsung said last week. Warner Bros.

Samsung's latest salvo against Apple and its attempts at barring the company from selling its line of Galaxy phones and tablets in the U.S. involved a bold trick earlier this week: saying Apple's iPad design patent should be tossed on the grounds that others have gotten there first.

The proof for that claim? Science fiction, of course.

Samsung last week cited Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film "2001: A Space Odyssey" wherein two of the astronauts watch video on two separate tablet devices while eating a meal. (See above.) In its brief, Samsung says those tablets share design similarities with the tablet depicted in a granted Apple design patent, and the patent should therefore be tossed from Apple's effort.

That very idea opens up a wealth of other gadgets to scrutiny of "what came first?" Without further ado: a handful of gadgets that could be targeted for trailing their fictional media counterparts.

About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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