Samsung and Google’s latest Galaxy Nexus Android smartphone, the first to run the search giant’s new Android 4.0 (codenamed Ice Cream Sandwich), was designed with the intention of reducing potential patent litigation from smartphone rivals Apple, Samsung’s mobile chief has revealed.

As the Korean smartphone vendor fights numerous legal battles worldwide with Apple over product designs and software patents, Samsung’s Shin Jong-Kyun told reporters in Hong Kong on the eve of the Galaxy Nexus launch:

“Now we will avoid everything we can and take patents very seriously.”

With bans already oustanding in Germany and Australia, Samsung has been forced to amend the design of its Galaxy smartphones in The Netherlands to escape a sales injunction on the devices in the country. Whilst Shin was unable to comment on whether Apple would be able to assert patent claims against its new device, he did note that Samsung has actively worked to ensure there is no known patent registered by Apple included in the Galaxy Nexus.

The Samsung executive later said that “we will see if (the Galaxy Nexus) will be 100 percent free”, adding that the litigation between the two companies was “just a start and will last for a considerable time”.

That didn’t stop Shin from criticising Apple, remarking that Apple wouldn’t gain much from its legal action, but Samsung is losing “the pride in our brand”.

To better protect itself from further legal action, Samsung has recruited more legal staff:

“(I realized that) having technological power and being business savvy aren’t enough,” Shin said.

Even though Samsung has to deal with sales injunctions in Germany and Australia, Shin noted that Samsung can still meet its annual tablet sales target of a five-fold increase from a year previous.

It would be unfortunate for Samsung to be faced with another Apple lawsuit, this time over its Galaxy Nexus smartphone, but the threat is very much there. Whether Apple will pursue the new handset in the courts remains to be seen, the Cupertino-based company will certainly be on high alert after Samsung filed legal action against it over the new iPhone 4S smartphone in Australia.