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SK Innovation to sue LG Chem over EV battery patent infringement

A dispute between major South Korean battery manufacturers was taken up a notch Friday with SK Innovation revealing counter lawsuits against LG Chem in the US over alleged violation of patents for electric vehicle battery technology. 
The move comes four months after LG Chem filed a lawsuit with the Delaware District Court in April, accusing SK Innovation in the US of making batteries by using technologies leaked from former LG Chem employees who were hired by SK. 

SK Innovation said in a statement that it would file a complaint with the US International Trade Commission and the federal court over alleged patent infringement by LG Chem, LG Electronics and its US subsidiary LG Chem Michigan.

“The complaint is a legitimate legal process,” said SK Innovation’s battery business head Yoon Ye-sun in the statement Friday.

“For a productive competition, the executive board at SK refrained from legal action and agreed to seek for amicable settlement, but we had to change our stance to protect our core technologies and intellectual property,” he added. 

The company also said it would file a separate lawsuit against LG Electronics, claiming the LG Group unit illegally manufactured EV battery packs using SK Innovation’s patented technologies without its approval.

SK Innovation is a latecomer to the global battery industry following SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-won’s vision to nurture its battery business unit as the group’s sustainable growth engine. It claimed that LG units have earned unfair profits by infringing on SK’s patent related to lithium-ion batteries.

Furthermore, SK Innovation accused LG Chem of withholding details of the latter’s lawsuit and said it was ready to reveal details of its lawsuit once the process of submission has been completed. 

According to the first-quarter business report released by LG Chem, its backlog reporting showed 110 trillion won ($90.8 billion) for its EV battery business as of the end of the first quarter.

By Kim Da-sol (