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SK Innovation Alleges LG Chem Stole Business Secret, Files Case

Electrical Vehicle (EV) battery maker LG Chem mentioned it had sued its South Korean rival SK Innovation in America for alleged theft of secrets and techniques. LG Chem and its American unit have filed a lawsuit towards SK Innovation in the U.S. International Commerce Commission (ITC), accusing SK Innovation of misappropriation of commerce secrets and techniques by hiring its former staff. It has asked ITC to cease SK’s imports of samples of lithium-ion batteries and infrastructure know-how infringing LG Chem’s secrets and techniques into America.

SK Innovation presently develops EV batteries in South Korea and plans to start a mass manufacturing unit in Hungary and the U.S. in 2020 and 2022, respectively. “This lawsuit is a necessary step to guard our core know-how and intellectual property derived from prolonged analysis and a large investment,” Shin Hak Cheol, LG Chem’s vice chairman, and CEO stated in a press release on Tuesday. SK Innovation expressed guilt over LG Chem’s authorized actions in the USA towards the enterprise. “SK Innovation’s battery trade will acquire the state of affairs and make clear allegations raised by LG Chem via legal procedures,” SK Innovation mentioned in an announcement.

SK Innovation, a proprietor of South Korea’s high refiner SK Power, is late in the market acquired by China’s CATL and BYD, Japan’s Panasonic Corp in addition to native rivals LG Chem and Samsung SDI Co Ltd.Since beginning mass manufacturing in 2012, SK Innovation has involved Germany’s Daimler AG and Volkswagen.  In March, SK Innovation broke floor to construct its first U.S. EV battery unit in Georgia. “SK Innovation has been extensively investing in the EV battery business, and these lawsuits would possibly damage its EV battery enterprise, particularly in the USA,” stated Hwang Yu-Sik, an analyst at NH Funding & Securities.

LG Chem mentioned it expects the ITC’s last ruling on the case within the second half of 2020.LG Chem ranked fourth within the international EV battery market with a 10.4 p.c market share whereas SK was in tenth place with a 1.7 % market share throughout January and February 2019, in line with trade tracker SNE Analysis.

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