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(LEAD) U.S. trade panel supports LG Chem in battery case with SK Innovation

All News 15:52 September 27, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS SK Innovation's response in paras 6-9)

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has voiced support for LG Chem Ltd.'s call for sanctions on its rival SK Innovation Co. in connection with a legal dispute over battery patents, LG Chem said Sunday.

In response to LG Chem's request for the issuance of an order sanctioning SK Innovation, the investigative staff of the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has supported LG Chem ahead of a crucial verdict over their electric vehicle (EV) battery patent case next month.

In the motion it filed with the ITC in August, LG Chem claimed that SK Innovation destroyed "highly relevant evidence" after its litigation against SK Innovation began.

LG Chem said in the motion that SK Innovation's "spoliation was targeted to the destruction of relevant LG Chem information" in SK Innovation's possession.

In April last year, LG Chem filed a complaint with the U.S. trade panel that SK Innovation misappropriated its EV battery trade secrets.

This image, captured from the U.S. International Trade Commission's website. shows LG Chem's motion against SK Innovation. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

SK Innovation said Sunday the ITC's stance in favor of LG Chem does not reflect "facts of its rebuttal opinion" submitted to the ITC on Sept. 11.

"On the same day, the ITC submitted its opinion toward the legal dispute (between the two Korean firms). So the ITC stance is only based on LG Chem's arguments," SK Innovation said in a statement.

On Sept. 4, SK Innovation denied it destroyed documents related to an EV battery patent case, claiming it developed the 994 patent, while LG Chem asserted its A7 battery cell is prior art to the 994 patent. A7 battery cells were used in the Chrysler Pacifica minivan in 2013.

SK Innovation has said it "has no reason whatsoever to delete documents and it did not delete them."

LG Chem and SK Innovation have been at loggerheads over EV battery-related trade secrets since last year, filing multiple lawsuits in the United States and South Korea.

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

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

kyongae.choi@yna.co.kr
(END)

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