Samsung Uses Decades-Old Movie as Evidence Against Apple, Microsoft Moves to Ban Motorola Imports [Lawsuits]


Lawsuits! Gotta love them on a beautiful summer afternoon – almost as refreshing as a cool glass of lemonade, in fact. We’ve got two stories for you this time. First up, Microsoft has filed with the ITC to have all Motorola phones (smart or dumb) banned from being imported, sold and advertised here in the United States.

Motorola’s allegedly infringing on 8 of Microsoft’s patents, with one relating to a phone being able to relay to an application things such as its signal strength and battery level. With that, it sounds like they’ll most likely go after Motorola in other regions. To be honest, there’s not much to say that hasn’t already been said – this is all just getting really, really stupid.

In slightly related news, Samsung continues to defend themselves against Apple in court, presenting new evidence today that shows they didn’t copy off iPad’s design when they sought out to make the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The piece of evidence is quite comical – a movie called “2001: A Space Odyssey Film”, a movie made in 1968 depicting how life would be like in the future. Sure enough, it was somewhat accurate as a season Samsung refers to portrays two astronauts using tablets while they eat. Here’s their statement to back the evidence up:

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.

You can’t really say they don’t have a point, either, though one must wonder whether or not this will hold up in court. While Apple had a physical product out for everyone before Samsung (and many others) did, Samsung had to go back over four decades to a movie their design team probably hasn’t even heard of – just calling it like I see it, folks.

As one YouTube user puts it, “It looks like a video monitor, not a computer, and no one used it, touched it, or did anything with it except watch it. Good luck with that one.” Unfortunately, this is how these patent and IP infringement lawsuits work – every bit of evidence will be scrutinized so much that they’ll get down to how it’s being used more than what it looks like. Video’s above for your enjoyment. [TechCrunch, FOSS Patents]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. They should try Star Trek: The next Gen… touches and everything.

  2. Tablets aren’t new, they are just recently popular. It was funny, I was at a friends party and some hipster showed up, talking about how Apple was god, and created touch screens, smart phones and tablets. o_O

    1. Back in the early 90s, my dad worked at Bell Labs in robotics and augmented reality. Sometimes I would visit and play games where you move in front of a camera to dodge enemies or swing a plastic sword wrapped in this neon tape in this medieval knight game. But those same hipsters will tell you that M$ stole the kinect idea from the Wii and that nintendo invented augmented reality gaming.

      1. Didn’t Bell Labs invent most tech?

  3. I would doubt the author’s claim that the Samsung team hasn’t heard of 2001. It is an iconic sci-fi movie that every geek knows about. Not to mention that it is referenced in pop culture constantly.

    1. completely agree. Not that Wikipedia is the be all-end all source but this at least illustrates the point:

    2. Right? I cannot imagine any engineer or designer from any country having not seen this film. Maybe Quentyn is just sheltered.

  4. Hasn’t heard of 2001? It’s a real classic, pretty much everyone knows it, even if they haven’t seen it.

  5. So Microsoft owns the patent to capture signal strength and battery and are suing over it? Who has the patent to make a phone call? Seriously, the more this goes on with banning the sale, we wont have ANY smartphones in ANY country in the world. They need to shut up already.

    1. > Who has the patent to make a phone call?

      Alexander Graham Bell? I’m pretty sure it’s expired by now.

      1. actually i think motorola/google has the patent for cellular communication

        1. I don’t doubt that Motorola had such a patent at some time, but back when cellular technology started out patents tended to be much more specific, and the original technology has changed quite a lot. Also, patents DO expire after a while. It’s also worth noting that Motorola Mobility is not the same company as Motorola – they were spun off a while ago but I don’t know which patents they took along with them.

          If they do still have such a patent, though, well that’s pretty much killer to anyone else.

  6. I am so tired of patent lawsuits… Articles about them & complaining in general.

    1. +1 Like.

      But these are design patents we’re talking about. Apple’s design of a rectangle with rounded corners, a black border, and icons arranged in a grid. Icons IN A GRID I tell you! If others can just come along and copy something so basic and obvious, and sell it for less, then how can Apple maintain their hugely fat profit margins at our expense?

      There is just so much horrible design copying going on. All modern flat screen TV’s are virtually indistinguishable until you get very close to them.

      And don’t even get me started on pocket calculators.

      Or oven mitts. Talk about brazenly stealing of design ideas! The copycat oven mitts all have FIVE FINGERS! OMG something must be done!

      1. so Apple’s design is a little more like this product from Samsung back in 2006? plays movies, stores photos, plays music…

        1. Samsung doesnt have to use a movie in their defense….Samsung can use that digital photo frame…lol

        2. that looks nothing like an ipad. Not only does it not have a touchscreen, but it is not a computer. It is also about half a foot wide with a kickstand, while the iphone is a couple millimeters wide.

      2. Having a rectangle shouldmt be allowed in any patent…its just stupid….

        1. agreed, someone may as well patent the sphere and sue all ball manufacturers. or the cone and sue the makers of ice cream cones and construction cones.

        2. You know whats more stupid? People who dont know a single thing about patent law or patents commenting on whats stupid.

        3. Yes, I agree. But I would expand upon that. It’s not just having a rectangle. Clearly, designing oven mitts with five fingers should also not be allowed in a design patent. Designing a car with four wheels, a steering wheel, two headlights, and 2 or 4 doors shouldn’t be allowed in a design patent.

          So where do you draw the line?

          Most sink faucets are extremely similar in design. That is because of their basic function. Yet a few faucets are designed to be beautiful or functional far beyond the common basic design. That is something that could be patented. But you can’t be allowed to prevent others from making sink faucets, or making their own unique designs.

          Apple is claiming a design patent on the basic design of a tablet.

      3. The great great great grandchildren of the first auto maker should sue all others! They are all guilty of having doors, tires and a motor…. and until recently, running primarily on gas!!! How come they had never done this??!!! o_O

        Well, maybe their patent just expired :/

  7. GRID oughta be suing Apple! Seriously!

  8. Wow! I was watching this movie ( one of my favorites and a true classic ) the other day with my girlfriend and I mentioned that Stanley Kubrick visualized a lot of tech we take for granted now (including the tablets in that scene, but also voice recognition and video calling).

    1. Don’t forget that Atari made one hell of a HUD :D

  9. I would say Apple got most of their inspiration from the evil HAL 9000 but honestly, doesn’t HAL look a lot like a Moto Droid boot animation?

    1. Come on now! HAL wasn’t evil, just… a bit crazy.

  10. Here is another good video from 1995 that predicts many of the functions of modern tablets. It was ever called the Tablet Newspaper.

  11. I can almost guarantee that their design team has heard of 2001: a space odyssey. who the hell hasn’t? it’s got to be one of the best known movies ever made

  12. Keep the lawsuit posts up, this is stuff we need to know in the phone world. Besides that, we need a patent reform for all electronic patents… This is getting ridiculous, and it’s totally uncalled for, for these companies to stomp around like the boss on the block.

  13. Quentyn, so you seriously mean to tell us that you’d not heard of 2001 before? Wow, you’re neglected your film – and not just sci-fi – education. This point is hugely well made by Samsung exactly because it shows that an iconic film contains a device exactly fitting Apple’s description if the iPad.

    1. As much as I would like Samsung to win but that example from Kubrick’s classic is not going to hold!
      1. Astronauts are simply watching a live feed.
      2. Astronauts are not interacting with the device (you may say they are eating food)
      3. Tablet has numbers (channels) at the bottom suggesting that it is TV that they are watching in a smaller screen format.
      4. Really, Apple and Samsung need to sort out their shit!

  14. Next week: Crayola sues Roseart and Sargent Art over crayon colors,smell and form…..even for the yellow color on the box.

  15. I think Samsung trying to bolster the argument of prior art since this is over them copying Apple’s design. I mean Apple is trying to sue them over a community design that’s nothing but a rectangle.

    By the way when is Kubrick going to get in on this action. I mean he has to have some royalties headed his way? Somebody dig up Gene Roddenberry and put him on the stand so that he can call these companies “a bunch of unoriginal b@$t@rds!”

    1. nothing more than a rectangle? You’re that blind?

  16. Now I wonder if the space food is any good? It looked pretty good to me.

    Oh, I think I am going to get a patent for suing other for violating patent.

    Good idea??

  17. Microsoft going after Motorola is a joke. Obviously they know that they can’t win and their plan is to slow up the Googlrola marriage. But seriously Microsoft, you can’t hold them up remotely long enough for you to get your head out your own ass.

  18. Decades old? You make it sound like it was from the 1900’s lol It was 1968, that really wasn’t that long ago, seeing how many of us on here were born in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s/

  19. I wonder if they all stopped suing each other would they be able to afford too charge less for their devices?

  20. Tablet X has a rectangular shape, and Tablet Y has a similar rectangular shape !!!!! you’re not allowed to make your tablet rectangular, because i’ve copywritten rectangles !!!!!

  21. I liked a post on Engadget that some guy made showing a Samsung digital photo frame from about 4 years before the iPad was released that the iPad looks a lot like. This is a great piece of evidence and it was not just a photo fame, it had wifi and other useful functions.

    Still absurd that Apple can claim to own the design of a screen with a bezel around it…dumb mofos.

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