Samsung: We Designed Galaxy Nexus Around Apple’s Patents

Samsung designed the new Galaxy Nexus with Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) very much in mind, but not in the same way that has seen it dragged into courtrooms around the world. The new phone, unveiled last night in Hong Kong, was designed carefully as to not infringe on any existing Apple patents, Samsung’s mobile leader told reporters prior to the event.

According to the Yonhap News Agency, Shin Jong-kyun, president of Samsung’s mobile division, said that the company is not taking its legal quagmire lightly. “Now we will avoid everything we can and take patents very seriously,” he reportedly said in commenting on the Galaxy Nexus. Shin admitted that there’s no real way to know for sure whether or not the phone is truly free from Apple’s claims given the complexity of modern smartphones and modern patents, but it sounds like Samsung made every effort to make sure it doesn’t add to its legal problems going forward.

Most of Samsung’s troubles are in the tablet market, with the Galaxy Tab 10.1 facing huge challenges in Australia, Europe, and the U.S. for its similarity to Apple’s iPad. Apple and Samsung are also tussling over phone designs, with each company having accused the other of stealing patented techniques or ideas in the making of their phones.

It’s going to take a while before these issues are resolved, Shin said. “I think it is just a start and (the lawsuits) will last for a considerable time,” he said, according to Yonhap.

The trouble for Samsung, and Android vendors in general, is that Apple or Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) could claim that features of Android 4.0, formerly known as Ice Cream Sandwich, infringe on their patents. So far those companies have avoided taking on Android directly, preferring to sue or work out licensing deals with handset companies. That is certainly subject to change.