No doubt about it: there were iPad-like devices in Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey. They sure do look like iPads — same size, similar illumination, etc. Which doesn’t bode well for Apple’s attempt to prevent Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab.

“Apple and Samsung are currently engaged in a high-stakes intellectual property battle, with Apple [looking] to stop Samsung from selling its Galaxy Tab and other Android-based products,” MacRumors reported this morning. “Apple claims that Samsung has infringed upon Apple’s intellectual property rights by copying the designs of popular Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

“According to court filings, Samsung has presented a scene from Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey as evidence of prior art that should invalidate Apple’s design claims on the iPad.

“From the filing: ‘Attached hereto as Exhibit D is a true and correct copy of a still image taken from 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. 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.

“‘The patent in question is a design patent covering the ornamental design of the iPad, with Apple claiming that the Samsung Galaxy Tab is substantially identical to that design.

“‘By pointing to an example of a similar design made public in 1968, even if not an actual functioning tablet device, Samsung hopes to demonstrate that there is little variation possible when designing a tablet and show that the general concept used by Apple for the iPad has actually been circulating for decades.'”