SK, LG increase rhetoric ahead of Biden battery veto deadline

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SK, LG increase rhetoric ahead of Biden battery veto deadline

                         [YONHAP]

[YONHAP]

Tension between SK Innovation and LG Energy Solution is rising ahead of the April 11 presidential review deadline on a trade secret dispute case related to electric vehicle (EV) battery technology at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC).
 
SK Innovation is now focusing on a recent ITC preliminary ruling in a separate case that says SK did not infringe on LG's EV battery technology patents. SK says the result of the patent investigation also proves that it did not steal trade secrets, despite the ITC's earlier decision that it did.
 
"When the ITC, following the Patent Court of Korea's decision, ruled that SK Innovation did not infringe on LG's patented technology, it meant that SK's technology is original," SK Innovation said in a statement issued Tuesday.
 
"If the ITC had made a substantive verification on the technology for the trade secret dispute case as well, it would have issued a different decision."
 
In 2013, the Patent Court of Korea dismissed LG Chem's claim that SK infringed on its battery-related patents.
 
The U.S. ITC in February ruled in favor of LG Energy Solution in a trade secret dispute, effectively banning SK from operating its EV battery business in the United States for the next 10 years. If U.S. President Joe Biden doesn't exercise his veto right by April 11, the ruling becomes final.
 
The legal battle hit an unexpected twist last week on April 1 when the ITC ruled in favor of SK Innovation in a separate patent infringement case raised by LG Energy Solution, saying that SK did not infringe on LG's technology related to EV batteries.
 
The ITC administrative judge also disclosed a document on April 2 in yet another patent infringement case raised by SK Innovation, saying it rejected LG's request to impose sanctions on SK for destroying documents related to the patent.
 
In a disclosed document, the ITC administrative judge said that LG Chem “failed to prove” that the document “was destroyed or materially altered by SK Innovation with a culpable state of mind.”
 
LG Energy Solution said that the ITC’s rejection of the company’s request to impose sanctions on SK in a patent case doesn’t affect the trade secret case. It also said that the document admitted to destruction of evidence by SK, but opinions differed on how long SK should have kept the evidence before destroying it.
 
“It is regrettable that SK Innovation is releasing documents that are interpreted arbitrarily,” said LG in a statement issued Tuesday following SK’s statement.
 
“Even after it was found that SK Innovation is the perpetrator and misappropriated trade secrets, the company is threatening to scrap its Georgia factory, scaring contractors and employee. It should be reconsidered whether such actions really fall in line with the [Environment, Social and Governance] initiative that global companies should follow.”
 
BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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