In one of the more interesting turn of events in the ongoing Apple versus Samsung patent infringement battle, Samsung’s defense team has introduced what they consider prior art that could have been used to inspire the design of the iPad. That prior art in question comes from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 sci-fi film “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Foss Patents initially reported on the findings in Samsung’s opposition brief to Apple’s motion for a preliminary injunction in the US.

In one of the exhibits filed with the US District Court for the Northern District of California, Samsung points to a clip from the movie showing two astronauts eating a meal while looking at tablet computers lying on the table next to them.

The declaration explains the clip as such:

“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 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.”

Prior art is described as information that has been disclosed to the public in any form about an invention before a given date that might be relevant to the patent's claim of originality.

Admittedly, this is a rather unusual defense but then again, the two tablets in the clip could very well qualify as previous art that Apple based the iPad design off of. Foss Patents believes that the court would likely disagree with Samsung that this constitutes prior art for the iPad design patent, however.

The saga between Apple and Samsung has been playing out in courts across the globe for some time now. Earlier this month Apple successfully blocked Samsung from releasing the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. Apple recently won a similiar temporary injunction against Samsung in the European Union.