The Apple v. Samsung trial that begins in a San Jose federal courtroom on Monday could emerge as the most important patent dispute of the decade. Apple and Samsung are accusing each other of infringing on a number technology patents, while Apple also claims that Samsung’s Galaxy phones and tablets wrongfully copy the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad.
The outcome of the battle could have far-reaching ramifications across the consumer electronics and mobile industries. Kevin Packingham, Samsung’s Chief Product Officer, knows what’s at stake, having previously worked as an executive at Sprint Nextel before launching a start-up that helped China’s Huawei bring its phones and tablets to the United States.
Ahead of the trial, Packingham stopped by Wired’s newsroom in San Francisco to talk about Samsung’s role in the ongoing patent wars that have spawned dozens of lawsuits across the globe, involving not only Samsung and Apple, but also HTC, Motorola and Microsoft, among others. For its part, Samsung owns more than 100,000 patents worldwide, so it’s certainly no stranger to the patents game, and all the litigation it involves. Here is the edited conversation.