Maybe not everyone will agree with me on this one but I think that if Apple can sue Samsung over developing a "rectangular product shape with all four corners uniformly rounded" then the Gene Roddenberry estate may want to consider entering into the foray and get a piece of the pie (Apple pie, if you please).
There are numerous examples where Star Trek has inspired a generation of technical inventions. Where is the credit people? By credit, I mean money. Money for blatantly copying a design that has been around for decades. If we are living in a world where you can patent a shape then I want to see Star Trek given props for just about every gadget we use today.
Throughout Star Trek Next Generation you see the Personal Access Display Device (PADD). See the following exhibit for an example. Of course, this looks more like a droid-ish device than an iPad, but that's not the point! You can clearly see this rectangle is adorned with some nice (and uniformly, I might add) rounded corners.
From Star Trek Deep Space Nine, here we see Sisco doing some serious photo editing on his PADD. I mean, what else are you going to do when you are stuck out on the fringes of space? Well....you are going to fabricate imaginary women (or men, whatever).
I love this one. Not only do we see the PADD in action, but we can also hear that Picard is playing what must be an early beta version of a now popular game on iPads. I mean, if this isn't an example of blatant copyright infringement, I don't know what else we can bring to the table.
Last but not least. I am going to go all the way back to the original Star Trek pilot episode. I am not talking about the one that aired with the first season ("The Menagerie"). I am talking about "The Cage", the lost pilot (circa 1965). In the following video, you will see Spock use the "one finger swipe" maneuver to advance the image on the console (go to time marker 1m34s).
In closing, I'd like to say that Roddenberry, Okuda, Drexler, and all of the other creative geniuses involved in fabricating the world of Star Trek deserve credit for being the true visionaries for our gadget infested lives. Apple, Samsung, and the rest are just turning imagination into reality. In all seriousness, that isn't a small thing at all and I am duly impressed. However, if we are getting into law suits around form factors, touch screens, and UIs then I think the Star Trek legacy has a big pay day coming. After all they are the ones who originally put the "D" in BYOD.
Thanks for reading. If you have time, post a comment!