SK Innovation is facing an unfavorable decision in its legal battle with LG Chem over electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITU) said on Nov. 27 that the Office of Unfair Import Investigations (OUII) handed in to the court a written opinion advising it to accept a request from LG Chem for a default judgment against SK Innovation. The OUII is under the ITC, but it is an independent body that represents public interests.
Earlier this month, LG Chem submitted to the ITC a request for a default judgment against SK Innovation, claiming that the defendant destroyed evidence of breaching its EV battery trade secrets. LG Chem asserted that SK Innovation ignored an evidence preservation obligation and destroyed the evidence in a systematic and extensive manner before and after the litigation and did not implement a forensic order from the ITC.
“It is reasonable to see that SK destroyed the evidence and did not comply with ITC's forensic order. Some of these actions appear intentional,” the OUII said. The OUII suggested that the court accept the request for a default judgment and a hearing be held because SK Innovation must have a chance to explain the issue.
“As SK Innovation is faithfully cooperating with any investigation by the ITC and stately responding to the lawsuit, there is no need to destroy any evidence,” SK Innovation said in this regard. "There is no ground for LG Chem’s claim that SK Innovation destroyed the evidence. We can fully clarify the claim and has already submitted materials for our vindication to the ITC. The opinion of the OUII came out before SK Innovation submitted the materials. We believe that our vindication will surely change the OUII’s opinion. We think that the ITC will judge based not only on LG's claim but on SK's position.”
The ITC will make a decision based on LG Chem's and SK Innovation's positions and the OUII's opinion. If SK Innovation loses the case, the United States will ban imports of EV batteries from SK Innovation.