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(LEAD) Court rules for LG Chem in EV battery battle with SK Innovation

All News 17:30 August 27, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with reactions of LG Chem and SK Innovation in paras 7-12)

SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Yonhap) -- A Seoul court on Thursday ruled in favor of LG Chem Ltd. against its rival SK Innovation Co. in an electric vehicle (EV) battery patent case ahead of a crucial verdict in the United States.

The Seoul Central District Court turned down a civil lawsuit as well as damage compensation filed by SK Innovation against LG Chem in October.

In April last year, LG Chem filed a complaint at the International Trade Commissions (ITC) that its smaller competitor poached its talents and trade secrets.

In October, SK Innovation filed a suit at the Seoul Central District Court against LG Chem, demanding the company drop the complaint and compensate 1 billion won (US$843,000) in damages, based on their mutual agreement reached in 2014 that the two would not engage in a legal battle in and out of the country in relation to a specific technology, patented under the registration No. 775,310 in Korea.

The company argued that LG violated the agreement by taking the issue to the ITC.

LG Chem, however, claimed that the legal process in Korea and at the ITC were separate, a point accepted by the court in Seoul.

LG Chem said it respects the court's decision as it vowed to pursue two separate legal battles against SK Innovation in the U.S. to the end unless SK Innovation shows a sincere attitude.

LG Chem renewed its position that it can settle a dispute with SK Innovation over their EV battery trade secret case in the U.S. if SK Innovation offers a "reasonable level" of compensation based on an objective basis.

The U.S. International Trade Commission is set to give its final ruling on the case in October.

In February, the U.S. commission made a preliminary ruling in favor of LG Chem's argument that SK Innovation had misappropriated and used its EV battery trade secrets.

Meanwhile, SK Innovation expressed regret over the ruling of the Seoul court and said it will file for an appeal with the Seoul High Court.

SK Innovation also expressed hope that it and LG Chem can cooperate for the sake of the EV battery industry.

This composite image shows the headquarters of LG Chem Ltd. (L) and SK Innovation Co. in Seoul. (Yonhap)

jaeyeon.woo@yna.co.kr
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