The Apple-Samsung trial in San Jose, California has had some pretty heated moments so far. These include moments like when Samsung released to the press some information it was not allowed to used in court, or when Apple was accusedby Samsung of tampering with evidence in the case. As far as who is winning, it’s still a little to early to say. It seems like the case might be leaning in Apple’s favor, but Samsung’s aggressive strategy to paint Apple’s patents as invalid could still end up swinging it towards the South Korean company’s favor.

The newest move on Samsung’s part is to bring in testimony from Roger Fidler, the head of the digital publishing program at the University of Missouri. So what does Fidler have to do with this patent case? Fidler says that he actually began working on a tablet design in 1981, and that Apple had exposure to his ideas and prototypes during the mid-1990s. He added that he was working on a device that would work with just a touchscreen, without the need for a stylus. He even had a working model back in 1994.

This new claim could actually have a lot of weight, even if it goes back nearly two decades before the launch of the iPad. The point Samsung is trying to bring home is that Apple stole designs from the earlier work of Roger Fidler when creatings its own Apple iPad. If true, it could mean that Apple’s claims that Samsung copied the iPad might become irrelevant.

The Apple-Samsung trail is expected to end sometime this month, though it’s likely far from the end of the ongoing war that the two companies are engaged in across the globe, which is often viewed as actually being an Apple vs. Android effort on Cupertino’s part.

What do you think of the new claim? Which side do you think is going to win the case?