We’ve earlier reported on Apple’s various patent lawsuits against Android-based device manufacturers Samsung and others. To be clear, Apple has moved for a preliminary injunction in the case, which would essentially prohibit Samsung from manufacturing and selling touchpad products before the case actually goes to trial. Essentially, Samsung could eventually prevail at trial, but still have years of litigation to go through before that happened without being able to sell their products in the meantime.
Without hinging their entire defense on it, Samsung has submitted to the court a clip from Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 acclaimed science fiction film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ showing astronauts using touchpad devices. Such devices have also appeared throughout science fiction, such as Star Trek and others as well. This is called a ‘prior art’ defense.
Such use of sci-fi is not so ridiculous as some sources seem to think it is. In 1971, Charles Prior Hall secured a patent to the modern waterbed. However, Hall was unable to defend his patent rights against competitors when it was pointed out that waterbeds appeared in several stories by one of sci-fi’s top authors, Robert Heinlein. Heinlein stories with waterbeds included 1942’s ‘Beyond This Horizon’ and the classic 1961 ‘Stranger in a Strange Land.’ Heinlein had conceived of heated waterbeds during an extended hospital stay in the 1930s, though never attempted to build one himself.
I’m sorry, Steve, I’m afraid I can’t let you do that. This type of thing is normally attributed to corporate error….