The legal battle with Korea’s two battery majors expanded as SK Innovation countersued LG Chem in Korea after the bigger rival filed lawsuits in the United States alleging it stole battery manufacturing trade secrets.
SK Innovation announced on Monday it filed the lawsuit for defamation against LG Chem and demanded a court to confirm that there was no infringement upon LG Chem’s trade secrets.
The move comes after LG Chem filed two lawsuits with the International Trade Commission (ITC) and a U.S. court against SK Innovation in May over the alleged theft of patented information through the hiring of former employees.
The latecomer in battery business dismissed LG Chem’s allegation, saying the hiring was part of normal business activities because former employees voluntarily decided to leave their company. SK Innovation also said LG Chem’s lawsuit is similar to litigation in 2011 when LG Chem filed a suit against SK Innovation, alleging the latter infringed patent rights related to a battery membrane. But LG Chem lost the legal battle in 2014.
SK Innovation initially claimed 1 billion won ($840,000) for defamation and plans to fix the compensation later upon calculating its damage accurately. In the filing, SK Innovation said it began its own battery research in 1992 and it delivered battery products to Kia Motors’ Ray, the country’s first commercial electric vehicle model, in 2011.
The ITC lawsuit is expected to reach a final ruling in November or December after a preliminary ruling in June or July.
By Chun Kyung-woon and Minu Kim
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