SAN JOSE -- In the ongoing patent dispute between the two tech titans, Samsung's defense team sought Friday to portray Apple as a company deeply worried about its declining position in the smartphone market. But it also tried to show that Apple's woes were not the result of Samsung's alleged patent infringements.
Apple, meanwhile, sought to establish not only that Samsung violated its patents but that those patents had huge value in the fiercely competitive smartphone market.
The trial, which got underway Tuesday, is the second in less than two years involving the two companies. At issue are five patents, including one for the familiar "slide to unlock" feature on the iPhone and iPad. Apple accuses Samsung of violating the patents in devices that weren't covered in the first trial, including the Galaxy S III smartphone and the Galaxy Tab 2 tablet.
After winning a nearly $1 billion judgment against Samsung in the first trial, the Cupertino company is asking the court for more than $2 billion in damages in this one.
According to email and other internal Apple documents cited by Samsung in the federal court case here, Apple executives criticized the company's own marketing and advertising efforts. They fretted that the iPhone lacked features found on rival devices and took note that the growth in the market was coming from phones that were cheaper than Apple's device or had bigger screens.
"We have a lot of work to do to turn this around," Phil Schiller, Apple's head of worldwide marketing, said in an email introduced into evidence by Samsung attorney Bill Price.
Schiller and other executives worried that Samsung's advertising efforts were outclassing Apple's. After watching a Samsung ad that ran before the Super Bowl, Schiller, in a separate email, admitted it was "pretty good."
"I can't help but think 'these guys are feeling it' ... while we struggle to nail a compelling brief on iPhone," he wrote. "That's sad because we have a much better product."
But the company saw its problems as bigger than just branding, the documents indicate. In preparing for a meeting of top Apple employees, former CEO Steve Jobs said he wanted presentations on how Apple was going to "catch up to Android where we are behind," particularly on features such as notifications and tethering. Jobs also said he wanted employees to talk about how Apple could match Google and Microsoft in allowing customers to sync their phones to computers in the cloud rather than their PCs at home.
"Apple is in danger of holding on to the old paradigm too long," Jobs said in the email.
Price also introduced a presentation put together by members of Apple's sales team for the company's current fiscal year that worried about the slowing growth rates of Apple's phone sales. The chart noted that much of the growth in smartphone sales was coming from phones priced less than $300 and with screens larger than 4 inches. Apple's latest iPhones have 4-inch screens, while many Android models have screens that are 5 inches or larger.
"Consumers want what we don't have," the presentation said.
Following Schiller's appearance, Apple tried to refocus the trial on the patents at issue. It called to the stand Greg Christie, a human-interface designer at the company who helped create the iPhone feature that allows users to slide an icon on the screen to unlock the device. Apple has charged Samsung with violating the patent on this technology in several of its phones.
According to Christie, who was named as one of the inventors of the patent, Apple's designers considered the feature to be very important because it would be the first way consumers interact with the phone. Apple designers explored different ideas for unlocking the phone and then spent several weeks refining the "slide to unlock" feature.
"People unlock their phone hundreds times a day now," he said. "That's a lot of time people spend doing this action. We wanted it to be easy and obvious but also wanted it to work well."
After Christie, Apple's lawyers called Andrew Cockburn, a professor of computer science at the University of Canterbury in England, who testified that Samsung infringed not only Apple's "slide to unlock" patent but also an Apple patent covering automatic text correction.
Contact Troy Wolverton at 408-840-4285. Follow him at Twitter.com/troywolv.