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To read comments to this article, go here
Speaking of Rectangles with Rounded Corners, What About Soylent Green's Tablet? ~pj Updated 2Xs
Friday, August 17 2012 @ 12:11 PM EDT

When Harry Harrison recently died, it reminded a Groklaw member of the movie Soylent Green, which came out in 1973. One scene has a tablet, in the euthenasia scene with Edward G. Robinson. Except for the detail that it used a sylus in the scene, it is certainly thin and it's a rectangle with rounded corners and a minimalist simplicity. If you go to YouTube, you can see the tablet, and I have some screen shots of what the tablet looked like. Is this prior art, perchance, foreshadowing the iPad and/or Samsung's tablets? If not, it surely speaks to obviousness, doesn't it?

Why are companies suing each other over an idea this old and this obvious?

Update: One reader insists this looks nothing like an iPad, that the corners aren't that rounded, etc. So I went to look at some pictures, to see if he's right. Judge for yourself, a white iPad2:

I don't know about you, but it looks like an iPad to me. Of course, what really matters is does it look like the patent? Here's Apple's drawing, taken from Samsung's graphic used in its opening statement, on page 24 of the PDF, but you can find the same drawing at the USPTO, Apple's design patent D618,087:

None of the devices seem to actually match the patent, to my eyeballs.

Update 2: Another reader mentions a 1936 movie, Things to Come, about stopping progress "before it's too late", and there are two tablets in it, both used for media. Here's the first one:

As you can see, you could use it in either portrait or landscape view. Note the rounded corners.

And here's the other tablet, used in the movie so that a character giving a speech can be viewed by the entire world, according to the futuristic script, on their tablet, here shown docked:

Say, time to dig into more science fiction, no? Comic books count too, by the way.


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