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SK Innovation will strengthen LG Chem’s feud with the EV battery patent suit

SEOUL (Reuters) – A dispute between two of the South Korean battery makers are escalated on Friday, as SK Innovation Co Ltd (096770.SO saying that it’s going to have to continue to larger rival LG Chem Ltd. (051910.KS) in the United States of america regarding the alleged infringement of a patent relating to electric vehicles (EV).

FILE PHOTO: the logo of The FIRST “Innovation” is seen in front of its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, on February 3, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/Photo File

The announcement comes four months after LG Chem accused SK Innovation at the United States for the alleged theft of trade secrets by hiring a former LG Chem employees. SK Innovation declined wrongdoing.

After Friday’s news, SK Innovation will supply nearly 5.5% at the midday trading break. LG Chem gained 1.2%, trailing the market .KS11 1.8%.

SK Innovation, in a statement, said it is preparing a litigation against LG Chem, LG Chem Michigan, Inc. by the U.S. International Trade Commission.

He also said that it is planning a lawsuit against LG Electronics Inc. (066570.KS) in the United States of america, which is a claim for unauthorized patent use of EV battery production.

LG Chem makes the cells in the battery pack located in the U.S. state of Michigan, which LG uses to make the finished battery in its area.

“These lawsuits are not relevant for the LG-Chem’s lawsuit against the us allegations of the misuse of a trade secret, but they have a legitimate legal proceedings to protect our intellectual property,” said y S Yoon, president of SK Innovation’s battery business.

An LG Electronics spokeswoman said the company was monitoring the situation at all, but felt “no need” to respond to the FIRST Innovation of its assets. LG Chem will not have an immediate comment.

LATECOMER

SK Innovation, South Korea’s largest oil refiner, is a latecomer to the EV battery market is led by LG Chem and Samsung SDI Co Ltd (006400.ME) as well as the japanese), Panasonic Corp (6752.(T). It began with the large-scale production in 2012, with its customers, including Daimler AG, DAIGn.DE and Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE).

As the court found in favour of SK Innovation, LG Chem and LG Electronics will no longer be able to sell the affected battery products.

Such legal conflicts could weaken South korea’s battery makers are in an era of heightened global competition, and the extent to which the government can act as a mediator in order to have a quick fix, an industry source told Reuters.

The government is nurturing the domestic EV battery industry is to create an EV battery is as big of an export item, such as memory chips and displays.

Reporting Heekyong and Yang, and Ju-min Park; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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