SK Innovation Fines LG Chem on EV Battery Dispute

LG Chem: The homepage of the official website for LG Chem Ltd.

On Friday, the dispute between two South Korean battery makers worsened. This is after SK Innovation Co Ltd also plans to charge bigger on its rival LG Chem Ltd in the United States.

The fine is over the alleged patent breach related to electric vehicles.

The projected new lawsuit by SK Innovation illustrated an instant criticism from LG Chem. This was after it called the action “groundless” and said it would seek compensation.

Since April, the two companies have been at dispute since LG Chem sued SK in the United States. It is due to the alleged theft of trade secrets by hiring former LG Chem employees.

Meanwhile, SK Innovation refused wrongdoing, and the trial is ongoing.

Firing the latest round, SK Innovation indicated it was getting ready into filing lawsuits versus LG Chem and LG Chem Michigan Inc.

The filing is through the U.S. International Trade Commission asserting patent breaches.

SK Innovation Refused for Further Data

SK Innovation rebuffed to provide further details, as well as specifics of when the case would be filed, but it has stated the action was about to happen.

The company indicated a significant amount of LG Chem’s battery products were likely to be impaired. In addition, it has stated that a win would forbid LG Chem from selling those products.

As restraining any suggestion of a tit-for-tat move happens, the president of SK Innovation’s battery business, YS Yoon, said, “These lawsuits are not relevant to LG Chem’s lawsuit against us accusing misappropriation of trade secrets.”

He also added, “But they are rightful lawsuits to protect our intellectual property.”

In reply, LG Chem alleged the planned lawsuit was “groundless”, “very regrettable,” and “unnecessary”.

In a statement, LG Chem said, “If the competitor admits its fault and promises to prevent the recurrence with a sincere apology, we will agree to a dialogue when they are willing to talk about compensation seriously.”

SK Innovation stock inched up 6.4%. LG Chem increased by 1.5%, trailing the market’s 1.8% rise.

Administration’s Interference

The South Korean government is developing the domestic EV battery sector. It is in order to make the industry as a big export item for the country, similar to memory chips and display panels.

A source with direct information of the matter said there was fear as the lawsuits could decline local battery makers at a time of heightened global competition.

In addition, the uncertainties meant the government might perform as the mediator to secure a rapid settlement.

Meanwhile, the source requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Moreover, plans of SK Innovation to file a separate U.S. lawsuit against LG Electronics Inc were also indicated.

The data was together with another affiliate of LG Group that is claiming unauthorized privilege use in EV battery production.

LG Chem production of battery cells is made in the U.S. state of Michigan. Here, LG Electronics are used to make finished batteries nearby.

SK Innovation, South Korea’s biggest oil refiner, is a latecomer to an EV battery market which was led by LG Chem and Samsung SDI Co Ltd, as well as Japan’s Panasonic Corp.

In 2012, it started mass production with customers together with Germany’s Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG.

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