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LG, SK’s battery biz butt heads over US patent nullification suit

LG Chem researcher (left) and SK Innovation researcher each hold up their company's battery (LG Chem/SK Innovation)
LG Chem researcher (left) and SK Innovation researcher each hold up their company's battery (LG Chem/SK Innovation)
LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation are yet again butting heads, this time over freshly launched inter partes review they both filed against each other at the US Patent and Trademark Office. 

An inter partes review is a trial proceeding conducted at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the US Patent and Trademark Office. The IPR looks at the patentability of a matter brought to attention.

The patent dispute is one of the many legal fights the two Korean rivals are embroiled in. The tension has only escalated ahead of an imminent final determination by the US International Trade Commission on a trade secret dispute, which has been the main point of contention between LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation.

On Thursday, LG Energy Solution said that the eight trade nullification claims SK Innovation raised against them had been revoked, using that as evidence to show the futility of SK Innovation‘s claims. SK Innovation however denied LG Energy Solution’s interpretation of the matter, saying that the rejection was only a result of changed regulations at the US‘ patent office.

Another similar claim raised by LG Energy Solution against SK Innovation, however, is currently under investigation, LG Energy Solution said.

According to SK Innovation, the US patent office has been turning down cases that overlap with the US’ ITC suits. Should the schedule of the ITC’s final ruling precede that of the patent office’s, the latter would automatically reject the complaint.

LG Energy Solution in turn questioned the legitimacy of SK Innovation’s refutation, as the latter had gone the extra length of paying to file the complaints even after the said regulatory changes took place.

LG Energy Solution vowed to protect its more than 27,000 battery-related intellectual properties, underlining their importance to the energy business.

The ITC is set to deliver its final verdict on the case on Feb. 10.

By Lim Jeong-yeo (