Samsung not allowed to use “2001: A Space Odyssey” prior art argument during Apple trial

by: Chris SmithAugust 2, 2012
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We’re back with another interesting detail from the U.S. Apple vs Samsung legal battle after having told you that Apple filed a motion requesting Judge Lucy Koh, who’s presiding over the case to punish Samsung for alleged misconduct (sharing rejected evidence from the case with the media,) by declaring Apple the winner.

While we wait to see how Judge Koh rules on Apple’s recent request – the company is also interested in having the jury know that Samsung has destroyed evidence that could have been useful in the case – we have one more decision from the same Judge that favors Apple.

Judge Koh ruled that Samsung can’t use one of the arguments it came up with to defend against Apple iPad design claims – the prior art evidence which Samsung found, of all places, in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.” In short, Samsung argues that iPad-like devices can be easily seen in one scene of the movie, hence the prior art defense – see image below.

While Android fans may hate Judge Koh’s rulings against Samsung in the U.S. case – she has awarded two injunctions against the Galaxy Tab and Galaxy Nexus in the U.S. with a few weeks to go until the trial started, but also denied other evidence from being brought to the attention of the jury – you’ll have to know that this time around the Judge is merely enforcing a previous decision on the “2001: A Space Odyssey” prior art argument made by Judge Paul Grewel.

Judge Grewel decided not to let Samsung use it in court in a previous ruling, which Samsung was contesting and Judge Koh did found that “Judge Grewal’s decisions were not ‘clearly erroneous'”. Here’s how Judge Koh explains the decision:

“For example, Samsung referenced clips from ‘Space Odyssey’ and ‘Tomorrow People’ in its opposition to the preliminary injunction in a general discussion of the background of the field. Samsung did not, however, argue that these references supported an invalidity or non-infringement theory. That Samsung changed tack after the close of fact discovery to include these references in their invalidity theories likely prejudiced Apple, who was not made aware during the preliminary injunction proceedings that Samsung intended to rely on these two prior art references for invalidity.”

Judge Koh also dismissed two other Samsung motions that referred to design-around source code for two Apple patents and to “striking of very significant parts of Samsung’s expert reports.”

That means that Samsung will not be able to show design-arounds for a couple of Apple patents which are allegedly infringed by Samsung products – the ’381 “rubber-banding” and ‘163 “tap to zoom and navigate” patents.

It also means that Samsung won’t be able to use some of its own experts’ reports in court as Apple managed to strike out various portions of these reports in pre-trial motions approved by Judge Grewel.

We’ll be back in the following days with more juicy details from this battle of titans.

  • The title of this article is “Samsung not allowed to use “2011: A Space Odyssey” prior art argument during Apple trial”. As is mentioned in the article itself, the movie is “2001: A Space Odyssey” ->

    • ChrissSmith

      Yes, obviously that’s the name of the movie, sorry for the slip up. Corrected.

  • michael sanchez

    She is a bought judge IMO

  • alex13809

    I’d love an explanation for this. WTF is the reasoning for not allowing their evidence and defences… There better be a good one.

  • Peterson Silva

    Coming up next: “Samsung lawyers not allowed to speak in court until the end of the trial”.

    The justice system is a circus… So even though they have lots of things to show they haven’t done anything wrong they still can’t use them because it hadn’t been said they would use them. This is a beyond idiotic.

  • At the same time, this judge is being so nonsensical a Samsung appeal is starting to look stronger. And the 2001 reference feels more like a parody of the absurdity of apples claims instead of a proper defence.
    Samsung dropped the ball with the leak but this whole trial has looked set up for an Apple win even before the entered the courts.

  • how the hell are you suppose to mount a defense when everything you present, in court thrown out..

    • DoctorZoidberg

      By presenting something with merit? Saying the video screen in 2001 was “prior art” is about as reaching as you can get.

  • Rob

    i believe judge Koh is biased. She either has apple stock (which she failed to disclose), or has been bribed. Or maybe she just likes apple more. Either way its time for this judge to recuse herself. The whole purpose of this is for a fair proceeding, and if this judge throws out all of Samsungs evidence and grants apple every one of its whims then fair is exactly what this isn’t

  • Brad

    Should just get the trial over and get on with the appeal. Seems like this one is a waste of time.

  • Apple is fucking pathetic………

  • Stan Jez

    notice that the image in the tablet shown on 2001 S.O. is in portrait mode. minor point, but most videos / film of that era when film was made usually was portrait. To my mind, I’d consider this as prior art.

    • Stan Jez

      Can’t edit my post….. I meant to say film was usually landscape landscape mode. e.g. tv, movies etc.

  • DoctorZoidberg

    While I think this whole case is stupid, trying to claim 2001 as “prior art” would be about as lame as anybody being able to infringe on flip phone patients because Captain Kirk used a communicator in the original Star Trek series.

    Perhaps if Samsung submitted actual design history documents the judge can dismiss this case and we can all move on with our lives.

    • Despite your feelings, this IS prior art. It’s documented visually too.

  • Use the padd they used in Star Trek The Next Generation.