Uh-oh. Sounds like Samsung's lawyers heard about Samsung Mobile President Shin Jong-kyun's little statement that the Galaxy Nexus was designed such that no "known" Apple patents were used or infringed on by the phone. This was probably, to be frank, a very stupid thing to say. Aside from basically challenging Apple to take a closer look at the Galaxy Nexus, there's also the fact that, if Jong-kyun's statement was actually correct and Samsung did design the Galaxy Nexus to avoid Apple patents, that Apple's lawyers would love to quote it at various patent infringement trials around the world. 

This could be introduced to a jury as evidence that Samsung had reason to believe, at the point the Galaxy Nexus was designed, that their other products could be infringing on Apple patents. The admissibility of this statement in a U.S. court may be possible, even though it is highly prejudicial to Samsung, as the doctrine against the admissibility of subsequent remedial measures does not apply to willful patent infringement. If it is admitted, this (along with other evidence - it wouldn't be enough alone) could lead a jury to find that Samsung released phones in the U.S. knowing they were potentially infringing on Apple patents, which would allow Apple, if the jury finds patents to have been infringed, to recover treble (triple) damages.

It's rare that you get such a public, verifiable, and concrete statement from such a high-ranking corporate officer about a product's IP strength. It's also likely that Samsung doesn't want to mislead shareholders (which happens to be a crime in most countries) by representing that the Galaxy Nexus is Apple-lawsuit-proof when that may not be the case.

One of Samsung Mobile's executives, Won-Pyo Hong, cleared up the situation for Samsung at AsiaD, saying that patents were not a big part of Samsung's discussion when they designed the Galaxy Nexus. Hong claims "At the time this [patent infringement] was not a really heavy issue." He also said, probably without skipping a beat, "“I don’t know where that rumor is from." Well, we're pretty sure it was your boss. 

Actually, it was a quote from Korean news outlet Yonhap, who claim Jong-kyun said that the Galaxy Nexus was designed to bypass legal attacks from Apple. Though, it's quite possible they took Jong-kyun's statement that "We will see if (the Galaxy Nexus) will be 100 percent free [of Apple lawsuits]" as an implication that the phone was designed to avoid patent litigation, which pretty obviously implies that Apple patents were a concern in the phone's design. Of course, this could also just be a "misunderstanding" or a Korean-to-English translation quirk. Yep, totally.


David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Martin

    It wouldn't matter whether it was designed with patents in mind or not. With the current state of software patenting it would have infringed of something nonetheless, just like most other products do.

  • L boogie

    It's amazing how the patent wars are truly out of hand when that type of statement could be used by the likes of "great artists steal" group to truly damage Samsung but at the same time, they're also both strange business bedfellows with each other, go figure.

  • Ryan S

    This is stupid. The guy said when asked about the patents "We designed it so that no known patents were infringed."

    This is NOT an admission of guilt that they intended to infringe on known patents on other devices. If you asked him then, "Does this mean the GS2 was designed to be a rip off of Apple?" I would bet he would have said the same exact thing.

    Its more just an instance of the press jumping on something and taking it out of context to make a story.

    • http://www.theandroidvibe.com Troy

      Agreed. The statement is far from concrete or an admission of guilt regarding previous products. The idea that it would be admissible in court against Samsung and lead a jury to rule against them is ludicrous. This is a prime example of media-hype going way around the bend.

      • L boogie

        Ludicrous agreed but it's not beyond Apple's legal tactics given some of their actions like the Netherlands/ Dutch cases.

        • http://www.theandroidvibe.com Troy

          I wouldn't put anything past Apple's legal tactics. We've already seen how they doctored evidence in the German courts. They will probably stitch together audio of Shin Jong-kyun admitting to violating Apple's patents. They might even throw in an admission of murder for good measure.