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Monday, July 30, 2012, 03:11 pm PT (06:11 pm ET)

Samsung exec says patent struggle with Apple is 'unreasonable'

In an interview with Wired, Samsung's Chief Product Officer Kevin Packingham alludes to Apple's aggressive pursuit of patent litigation and finds it "unreasonable that we’re fighting over rectangles, that that’s being considered as an infringement."

The "rectangles" Packingham is referring to are Apple's design patents which are being asserted against certain Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets in a high-stakes California jury trial that started proceedings on Monday.

During the Wired interview, Packingham said Samsung is merely defending itself against claims that are "defying common sense."

"We’re all scratching our heads and saying, 'How is this possible that we’re actually having an industry-level debate and trying to stifle competition?'" Packingham said of the assertions being made against Samsung. "Consumers want rectangles and we’re fighting over whether you can deliver a product in the shape of a rectangle."

He goes on to say that a rectangle is not the product of research and development investments and while some of the South Korean company's products have such a shape, they aren't considered "to be an art or a science that [they've] created."

Packingham also calls on the technology industry as a whole to solve the allegedly broken U.S. patent system by not stifling competition with design patents that are not "particularly unique, and really don’t represent intellectual property."

Kevin Packingham

Samsung CPO Kevin Packingham. | Source: Wired


For its part, Samsung holds over 100,000 worldwide patents, some of which are design patents though the product chief is quick to point out that they are "not as simple as the rectangle," alluding to Apple's iPhone patent.

Apple is also described as being the lone aggressor among patent-holding tech companies.

"In the current environment, there’s just one company that’s firing the first shot consistently," Packingham said. "Most everybody else seems to be getting along really well. There are a few areas where there has been some contention recently, but if you look at those areas of contention, they were legitimate and people were able to come to terms, business terms, that were reasonable. That’s the way the system should work."

Apple first accused Samsung of copying the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad and sued the Korean electronics giant in 2011, sparking what would becoome a worldwide patent struggle that now spans across 10 countries.

A California jury trial regarding the matter began on Monday and is seen as one of the most important patent cases in recent U.S. history.