Wednesday, December 11, 2019
SK Innovation Sues LG Chem for Breach of Agreement
Escalating War over Battery Patents
SK Innovation Sues LG Chem for Breach of Agreement
  • By Jung Min-hee
  • October 23, 2019, 09:44
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SK Innovation has filed a suit against LG Chem with the Seoul Central District Court to have the latter withdraw a patent lawsuit and compensate for damages.

SK Innovation has filed a suit against LG Chem with the Seoul Central District Court to have the latter withdraw a patent lawsuit and compensate for damages, the company said on Oct. 22.

According to SK Innovation, LG Chem has recently filed a patent lawsuit with the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) regarding patents for which the two sides had agreed not to get involved in a legal dispute at home and abroad.

As such, SK Innovation said LG Chem’s recent legal action against it constitutes a breach of the agreement and LG Chem should withdraw the suit and compensate for the breach.

According to SK Innovation, the three patents related to membrane separation technology that LG Chem says have been infringed were in fact those for which disputes have already been settled. More concretely, LG Chem’s U.S. patent (US 517), which LG Chem says have been infringed, is the same as its Korean patent (KR 310), for which LG Chem filed a patent infringement suit against SK Innovation in 2011 and agreed with the latter in 2014 not to take legal action against each other again.

SK Innovation and its U.S. affiliate SK Battery America (SKBA) demanded that LG Chem compensate each company 500 million won for the breach of the contract.

On the other hand, LG Chem refuted SK Innovation’s claim, saying that the settlement only covers the domestic patent (#775310), not foreign ones, and that the term “foreign” used in the agreement document means that the two sides do not engage in lawsuits in a foreign court over the domestic patent.

Meanwhile, the USITC ordered a forensic investigation into documents not submitted by SK Innovation. Digital forensics refer to digital investigation by restoring deleted documents from computer servers and other digital recording devices, or analyzing the remaining evidence. The USITC found a list of 980 missing documents among the documents submitted by SK Innovation. It judged that evidence about LG Chem’s claims could be found in the missing documents. It ordered a forensic investigation to discover evidence closely related to the lawsuit.

SK Innovation conducted a forensic inspection in the presence of LG Chem’s forensic consultants. LG Chem saw the digital forensics shedding new light on the investigation while SK Innovation thought of the deleted documents as nothing but ordinary private files that had been erased by the regulations of the company.