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Samsung says 2001: A Space Odyssey invented the tablet, not Apple

Samsung claims Stanley Kubrick's film proves Apple didn't invent the tablet. It's the latest twist in the companies' patent spat.

Samsung has claimed sci-fi snorefest masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey provides evidence that Apple didn't invent the tablet computer, Foss Patents reports. It's the latest twist in the ongoing patent battle between the two companies, as part of which Apple is trying to block the sale of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet.

Along with a screenshot from the film, Samsung's defence filing to a US court states: 'In a clip from that film lasting about one minute, two astronauts are eating and, at the same time, using personal tablet computers.'

'As with the design claimed by [Apple's] 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.'

What Samsung is saying is that the 2001 tablets are evidence of prior art -- instances of an invention being described before it was patented (in this case patented by Apple).

Samsung may have a point -- it's bizarre to claim that the iPad was the very first instance of a tablet computer. And yet, somehow, Samsung's latest move smacks of desperation.

Earlier today, news emerged that the Samsung Galaxy S2 smart phone has been banned from sale in Europe, with a judge declaring that Samsung's dual-core smart phone infringes on one of Apple's patents.

What's your response to all this? Did Apple invent the tablet? When will this patent madness end? Let us know in the comments section below, or on our Facebook page. Here's that clip from 2001 to help you make up your own mind.