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Energy Storage

LG Chem sues SK over battery trade secrets theft

by Marc S. Reisch
May 4, 2019 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 97, ISSUE 18


South Korea’s LG Chem has filed a lawsuit alleging that its South Korean competitor, SK Innovation, stole lithium-ion battery trade secrets. SK says it will defend itself in court. The suit, filed in Delaware federal court, comes at a key juncture for SK, which is trying to establish itself as a major electric-vehicle battery maker. Although SK now produces batteries in South Korea, in March it broke ground on a $1.7 billion battery plant in Jackson County, Georgia, and an $860 million factory in Hungary. LG claims SK gained access to its technology by hiring 77 former LG battery division employees, including dozens of engineers involved in R&D, manufacturing, and quality assurance. LG turned up evidence of the theft on its own computers, where it says at least one employee’s resume contained technical trade secrets. Other employees downloaded key technical documents before their move to SK, LG says. LG’s suit seeks monetary damages and an injunction against further use of the allegedly stolen intellectual property. A separate complaint filed with the US International Trade Commission seeks an end to SK’s import of batteries using LG technology.



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