First things first. There are provisions to make an EU Community design invalid. Apple's iPad falls in this category as there are strong evidences of prior art. We have been writing extensively about the existence of prior art which should invalidate Apple's generic patent on the tablet design in Europe. Samsung has now reportedly presented references to Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" in which a crew was using tablet devices which resembles the iPad. The film was released in 1968 and there is no doubt that Apple's took the iPad design from the movie. Samsung has presented another evidence of prior art by referring to a 1970 "The Tomorrow People" where a tablet was used.
Image courtesy: Reghardware
These two evidences and existence of similar form factor devices should be enough to render Apple's generic tablet design patent invalid.
According to EU community design, designs may be protected if:
* they are novel, that is if no identical design has been made available to the public;
* they have individual character, that is the "informed user" would find it different from other designs which are available to the public. Where a design forms part of a more complex product, the novelty and individual character of the design are judged on the part of the design which is visible during normal use.
According to European-Trademark.com, a design can be invalidated.
Invalidation proceedings may be filed at any time throughout the life of the design but can only be filed by a person having a direct interest. A Registered Community Design may be declared invalid for various reasons, including:
* The design is not new.
* The design lacks individual character (in other words, it creates the same overall impression as an earlier design).
* The design conflicts with an earlier right (e.g. an earlier copyright, national design, trade mark or a sign protected under national or international law).
#1. The design has been used in popular culture since 1968, this its not new.
#2. It does create overall impression of a photo frame and Windows tablets.
#3. Arthur C Clarke, and Stanley Kubrick holds the copyright on the story and film "2001: A Space Odyssey" which means they also hold copyright on the tablet concept and design which Apple used in its iPad.
The doyan Science Fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke conceptualized the concept of communication sattellite and, of cource, the tablet which was the concept and design Apple used for the iPad. Clarke never patented the idea for either.
"I'm often asked why I didn't try to patent the idea of communications satellites. My answer is always, "A patent is really a license to be sued."