© Reuters. The LG Chem logo can be seen in its office building in Seoul
By David Shepardson and Heekyong Yang
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US International Trade Commission (ITC) on Wednesday sided with South Korean battery and electric vehicle battery maker LG Chem Ltd, which has accused its rival SK Innovation Co Ltd of abusing trade secrets related to EV battery technology .
The ITC announced that it had issued a limited 10-year disqualification order, but SK is stopping importing components for domestic production of lithium-ion batteries, battery cells, battery modules, and battery packs for Ford Motor’s EV F-150 program (NYSE 🙂 Co for four years and for Volkswagen (DE 🙂 the American MEB electric vehicle line for the North America region for two years.
The ITC said the decision would allow automakers to switch to new suppliers for these programs.
LG Chem’s wholly owned battery subsidiary LG Energy Solution praised the verdict.
“SKI’s complete disregard for our warnings and intellectual property rights left us with no choice but to file this case,” said Jong Hyun Kim, CEO of LG Energy Solution. He said the company will “continue to strengthen intellectual property protection in the future”.
In a statement, SK Innovation regretted the ITC’s decision, “but it’s a relief that we will continue to deliver to Ford and Volkswagen.”
SK noted that there was a 60-day presidential review period during which President Joe Biden could decide to overturn the sentence. Biden has made electric vehicles and reducing vehicle emissions a top priority.
LG Chem spun off its battery business, renamed LG Energy Solution, an EV battery supplier for Tesla (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc and General Motors Co (NYSE :). She filed her U.S. trade complaints against SK Innovation in April 2019, alleging that her rival had stolen trade secrets.
Attempts have been made to prevent SK from bringing batteries and components to the US, as well as manufacturing systems needed for US production, which is scheduled to begin in 2022.
SK Innovation is building two EV battery factories in Georgia to manufacture batteries for us in Volkswagen and Ford electric vehicles. LG Chem has built an EV battery cell venture facility with GM in Ohio.
Ford said the “ITC decision supports our plans to bring the all-electric Ford F-150 to market in mid-2022.”
Volkswagen and Ford previously warned of a US legal battle between South Korean battery manufacturers that could cut supplies of key EV parts and cost US jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. VW did not immediately comment on Wednesday.
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