The US-owned subsidiary of the South Korean battery cell manufacturer LG Chem has filed two lawsuits in the USA against its South Korean competitor SK Innovation. The accusation: Employees hired by LG Chem are said to have disclosed business secrets of the company.
Specifically, among 77 employees who SK Innovation allegedly poached from LG Chem at the end of 2016, there is said to have been a “significant number” of engineers who passed on LG Chem’s protected know-how in the development and manufacture of lithium-ion pouch cells to SK Innovation.
LG Chem is alleging that since 2017, SK Innovation has required their job applicants to provide details on the technologies and projects they were involved in at their previous places of work, leading to leaks regarding the company’s key technologies and confidential business information.
In a lawsuit filed with the U.S. Trade Commission, LG Chem has now requested that SK Innovation prohibit the import of battery cells and packages as well as test and production equipment. In a separate lawsuit filed with the Delaware District Court, LG Chem is also seeking compensation from its competitor.
Korean battery cell manufacturers are fighting hard for market shares. This is not the first time that LG Chem and SK Innovation have clashed. Volkswagen’s plans to enter the mass production of battery cells for electric cars with the support of SK Innovation are being torpedoed by the cell suppliers who have been active for Volkswagen to date – first and foremost by LG Chem.