SK Innovation has filed a damages claim against LG Chem, which filed a lawsuit against the company in the United States for encroaching upon its battery business trade secrets.
SK Innovation said on June 10 that it has filed a lawsuit with the Seoul Central District Court to seek damages for defamation. It alos filed a separate suit to confirm that it has not encroached upon LG Chem’s trade secrets. "We filed lawsuits against LG Chem, who filed lawsuits against us with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and a federal court in Delaware in late April, to prevent the damage to be caused by LG Chem’s legal action, including tangible and intangible losses and future business setbacks," the company said in a statement.
"We decided to claim damages for defamation and confirm the non-existence of any encroachement upon LG Chem’s trade secrets, as we can no longer tolerate the damage caused by groundless accusations," it added.
SK Innovation said in the statement that it needed to protect its customers, company employees, business value, industrial ecosystem and national interests as there was no reason to be sued. It stressed that it has begun to take tough countermeasures against continued groundless accusations, as it has already warned.
The company asserted that LG Chem filed lawsuits against it not because there was evidence of trade secret encroachment but because it wanted to confirm its suspicisions through litigation.
It also pointed out that LG Chem’s lawsuits against it are very similar to the one the company had filed in 2011 over membrane separators for lithium-ion batteries. At the time, LG Chem lost the case in the first and second hearings before agreeing to end the suit.
“At that time, some people suggested taking stern measures against LG Chem, but we finally decided to make peace in consideration of the national interest and the negative public sentiment about lawsuits between conglomerates,” SK Innovation said.
In filing the suit, SK Innovation plans to claim 1 billion won first, and further claim damages after specifically investigating the damage it suffered in the course of the lawsuit.
"As uncertainties are growing in the electric vehicle battery industry due to the rapid growth of the battery business, pursuit of rival countries and the battery alliance in Europe, it is urgent for us to secure a market position,” the company noted, adding, “It will be much more advantageous for our rival company to respond to the expanding market by fostering an industrial ecosystem."
Meanwhile, SK Innovation claimed in the lawsuit that SK Group’s research on electric vehicle batteries began at the Ulsan Institute in 1992 and has since led the electric vehicle industry, as shown by its supply of batteries to Hyundai Motor's BlueOn, South Korea's first full-speed electric vehicle, in 2010.