U.S. patent body throws out SK challenge against LG

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U.S. patent body throws out SK challenge against LG

                         [JOONGANG ILBO]


The U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) refused SK Innovation’s challenge to LG Energy Solution patents related to electric vehicle batteries on Jan. 12 as the ongoing legal battle between the two companies continues in Korea and the United States.
SK Innovation made eight separate requests to the PTAB last year, asking it to review LG Energy Solution patents regarding cathode materials and safety reinforced separator. The review procedure is known as an Inter Partes Review (IPR).
The board refused six requests in November 2020 and the remaining two on Jan. 12.
An IPR is only instituted when “there is a reasonable likelihood that the petitioner would prevail with respect to at least one claim challenged,” according to the PTAB website.
Neither SK Innovation nor LG Energy Solution can appeal the decision.
LG Energy Solution also requested that the board review SK Innovation’s patent on battery module technology in March 2020. The board accepted the request in September and is expected to rule in the latter half of this year.  
The latest decision doesn't have a direct influence on the ongoing legal fights between the two companies over trade secrets and battery patents under the United States International Trade Commission (ITC).
LG Chem, before its battery unit was spun off to LG Energy Solution, had filed a lawsuit against SK Innovation in 2019 alleging it misappropriated LG Chem’s trade secrets and called for compensation. Last year, the two companies filed suit against each other over patent infringement.  
The ITC, after making a preliminary ruling in favor of LG Chem in February last year, is expected to make its final ruing next month. For the patent infringement cases, the ITC is expected to make final rulings in the latter half of this year.
BY JIN EUN-SOO   [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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