SK Innovation fuels LG Chem feud with EV battery patent lawsuit

SEOUL (Reuters) – A feud between two South Korean battery makers escalated on Friday as SK Innovation Co Ltd (096770.KS) stated it plans to sue larger rival LG Chem Ltd (051910.KS) in the US over alleged patent infringement associated to electrical autos (EV).

FILE PHOTO: The brand of SK Innovation is seen in entrance of its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Picture

The proposed new lawsuit by SK Innovation drew a swift denunciation from LG Chem, which referred to as the motion “groundless” and stated it will search compensation.

The 2 firms have been at loggerheads since LG Chem sued SK in the US in April for alleged theft of commerce secrets and techniques by hiring former LG Chem workers. SK Innovation denied wrongdoing and the litigation is ongoing.

Firing the most recent spherical, SK Innovation stated it was getting ready to file lawsuits towards LG Chem and LG Chem Michigan Inc by the U.S. Worldwide Commerce Fee alleging patent breaches.

SK Innovation declined to offer additional element, together with specifics of when the case can be filed however stated the motion was imminent. The corporate stated a considerable quantity of LG Chem’s battery merchandise had been prone to be affected and a win would prohibit LG Chem from promoting these merchandise.

“These lawsuits usually are not related to LG Chem’s lawsuit towards us accusing misappropriation of commerce secrets and techniques, however they’re rightful lawsuits to guard our mental property,” stated YS Yoon, president of SK Innovation’s battery enterprise, downplaying any suggestion of a tit-for-tat transfer.

In reply, LG Chem stated the deliberate lawsuit was “groundless”, “very regrettable” and “pointless”.

“If the competitor admits its fault, and guarantees to forestall the recurrence with a honest apology, we’ll conform to dialogue when they’re keen to noticeably discuss compensation,” LG Chem stated in an announcement.

SK Innovation inventory was up 6.4% at 0510 GMT. LG Chem gained 1.5%, trailing the market’s .KS11 1.8% rise.

GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION?

The South Korean authorities is nurturing the home EV battery sector to make the trade as huge an export merchandise for the nation as reminiscence chips and show panels.

A supply with direct data of the matter stated there was concern the lawsuits may weaken native battery makers at a time of heightened international competitors. These worries meant the federal government might act as mediator to safe a swift decision, the supply stated, requesting anonymity as a result of sensitivity of the matter.

SK Innovation additionally stated it plans to file a separate U.S. lawsuit towards LG Electronics Inc (066570.KS), one other affiliate of LG Group, claiming unauthorized patent use in EV battery manufacturing.

LG Chem makes battery cells within the U.S. state of Michigan, which LG Electronics makes use of to make completed batteries close by.

SK Innovation, South Korea’s greatest oil refiner, is a latecomer to an EV battery market led by LG Chem and Samsung SDI Co Ltd (006400.KS) in addition to Japan’s Panasonic Corp (6752.T). It began mass manufacturing in 2012 with prospects together with Germany’s Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) and Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE).

Reporting by Heekyong Yang and Ju-min Park; Modifying by Christopher Cushing and Jane Wardell

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Belief Rules.

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