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LG Chem sues SK Innovation in US to protect trade secrets

LG Chem has filed complaints against SK Innovation with the US International Trade Commission and the District Court of Delaware, alleging its rival violated rules on trade secrets.

LG Chem said Tuesday it has requested the commission to completely ban imports of SK Innovation’s cells, packs and samples of its secondary batteries while seeking compensation from its rival at the district court of Delaware, where SK Innovation’s US battery arm is located. 

(LG Chem)
(LG Chem)

LG Chem has alleged that it found specific evidence proving key technologies of its electric car batteries were leaked to SK Innovation.

It said SK has poached 76 key employees of LG Chem since 2017 in the areas of research and development, production, quality management and sales. When the employees moved to SK Innovation, they downloaded a combined 1,900 documents of the firm’s key technologies, according to LG.

LG also alleged that when SK Innovation hires experienced employees, it requires applicants to state the name of their former company and provide details on former colleagues’ names as well as the technologies and projects they had been involved in. In the process, LG Chem’s confidential business information had been leaked, it said.

Shin Hak-cheol, vice chairman of the company, said the lawsuit was “inevitable” to protect its key technologies and intellectual property.

“We had requested SK Innovation to stop recruiting our key personnel who are highly likely to leak the company’s confidential sales and technology information several times, but it didn’t work,” said LG Chem.

Next month, the ITC is expected to rule on whether to look into the case related to calls to ban imports of SK Innovation’s products. Its preliminary ruling will be made in the first half of next year, and the final ruling will be made in the second half.

LG Chem said it filed lawsuits in the US because it is “harder to conceal evidence there.” The nation has a stronger investigation process in which each party investigates a case by obtaining evidence from the opposing party.

In response, SK Innovation said it would “clarify the issues raised by LG Chem through legal procedures,” calling the lawsuit “unnecessary” and saying that its business activities are reasonable. 

By Shin Ji-hye (
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Korea Herald daum