Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Battery Patent Disputes between SK and LG Intensifying
Benefiting Chinese Battery Producers
Battery Patent Disputes between SK and LG Intensifying
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • September 2, 2019, 08:58
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Disputes between SK Innovation and LG Chem over electric vehicle battery patents are intensifying, benefiting their Chinese and Japanese rivals.

SK Innovation is planning to file countersuits against LG Chem and LG Chem Michigan with the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) and the United States District Court for the District of Delaware and file a countersuit against LG Electronics with the United States District Court for the District of Delaware. SK Innovation is claiming that the LG Group subsidiaries infringed upon its battery patents. The company included LG Electronics in the litigation as it is producing and selling battery modules and packs by using battery cells supplied by LG Chem.

Earlier, LG Chem filed lawsuits with the USITC and the United States District Court for the District of Delaware in April this year, claiming that SK Innovation stole its trade secrets by poaching its battery engineers. In response, SK Innovation filed a damage suit against LG Chem in June, claiming that its reputation was damaged by the company.

Industry insiders are calling for an immediate reconciliation led by both sides or the South Korean government in that their conflicts can be taken advantage of by Japanese and Chinese rivals and South Korea is no longer leading the global battery industry.

According to market research firm SNE Research, CATL is currently the largest electric vehicle battery manufacturer in the world with a global market share of 25.4 percent and it is followed by Panasonic (20.3 percent) and BYD (15.2 percent) whereas the market shares of LG Chem, Samsung SDI and SK Innovation stand at 10.8 percent, 2.9 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively. The three South Korean companies’ combined global market share was over 30 percent in 2014.