LG Chem has asked the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) to make a default judgment against SK Innovation, claiming its rival has destroyed evidence. In response, SK Innovation said that it has been sincerely complying with legal procedures and will continue to do so.
LG Chem officials said on Nov. 14 that the company has filed a request for a default judgment against SK Innovation during the discovery procedure in which each party can examine evidence from the other upon legal request. LG Chem also submitted the list of 94 files that suggest that its local rival attempted to tamper with evidence concerning its infringement upon LG Chem’s trade secrets.
In its application, LG Chem pointed out that SK innovation ignored its obligation to preserve evidence by attempting to destroy evidence systematically and extensively. It continued that SK Innovation didn’t comply with the USITC’s digital forensics orders, which constituted contempt of court. Hence, LG Chem asked the USICT to make a default judgment or to declare that SK Innovation stole its confidential data and used them to undertake research and development, produce and test batteries and win contracts.
LG Chem presented an email as an example of SK Innovation’s tampering with evidence. The email was sent to SK Innovation EV battery team on April 30, right after LG Chem filed a lawsuit against SK innovation. It asked the employees to “delete every document related with its competitor LG Chem as soon as possible.” It also urged its U.S. affiliate SK Battery America (SKBA) to “examine documents more thoroughly as PCs could be seized.” It told officials to delete the letter after taking appropriate measures.
Meanwhile, the USITC ordered a forensic investigation into deleted documents on Oct. 3 in support of LG Chem’s request to restore all the deleted documents that contained its proprietary information. LG Chem claimed that SK Innovation did not comply with the USITC’s forensic orders.
SK Innovation refuted this by saying, “After the lawsuit was filed against us, we have made it a rule to comply with legal procedures sincerely. To that end, we are cooperating fully with all the investigations and will keep doing so.” SK Innovation is scheduled to submit an answer to LG Chem’s request for a default judgment sooner or later.
If the USITC accepts LG Chem’s request for a default judgment, it will rule against the defendant without initial determination. If the USITC makes a final determination in favor of LG Chem, SK Innovation would be banned from importing EV batteries to the U.S.