Becoming the world leader in the mobile handset market was no easy task. Or at least that was the point Samsung tried to make Monday in its patent trial againstApple.

In the trial, Apple has argued that Samsung became a world leader in the mobile handset business by copying features of its iPhones and iPads, violating patents along the way. On Monday, Samsung called one of the company’s top marketing executives to the stand to argue that strong marketing was the major driver of sales.

Todd Pendleton, the chief marketing officer for Samsung’s American division, testified that when he joined Samsung in 2011, he was not even aware the company made smartphones. And that, he said, demonstrated that the company had a branding problem.

“I think people knew Samsung for televisions,” Mr. Pendleton said. “But in terms of smartphones, there was no recognition for what our product was or what it stood for.”

Samsung already had a better phone than Apple, Mr. Pendleton argued, but people just didn’t know about it. At the time, Samsung was still No. 4 in the market, behind Apple, HTC and Research in Motion, now called BlackBerry. Mr. Pendleton said he had to build a marketing plan from scratch. He said he decided to build a brand around the idea that Samsung would stand for “relentless innovation” by shipping the best hardware on the market before anyone else.

Eventually Samsung began a marketing campaign called the Next Big Thing, which aggressively mocked the iPhone while promoting Samsung devices as the best on the market.

Samsung’s phone sales grew quickly. In 2012, sales of Samsung’s Galaxy S III surpassed the iPhone for a short period, making it the best-selling smartphone in the world.

When asked whether Samsung plotted to surpass Apple, Mr. Pendleton said: “Our goals at Samsung are always to be No. 1 at everything we do. To beat everyone.”

Earlier in the trial, which started two weeks ago, Apple presented evidence that suggested Apple in particular was in Samsung’s cross hairs. Apple’s lawyers presented a memo written by Dale Sohn, a former Samsung executive in charge of its phone business, which said: “Beating Apple is no longer merely an objective. It is our survival strategy.”

When Apple’s lawyers questioned Mr. Pendleton, they showed an email written by Mr. Sohn in 2012 about the company’s attack plan against the iPhone 5.

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