The Korean battery giants battle on

After a preliminary ruling in favour of LG Chem was issued in the U.S. regarding the legal dispute between the South Korean battery manufacturers LG Chem and SK Innovation, the legal dispute between the two companies continued in South Korea – and a ruling has been made.

Here SK Innovation seems to have again drawn the short straw – in this related patent dispute, the Seoul Court of Justice has now also ruled in favour of LG Chem. SK Innovation has said it will appeal against the decision.

Back in the USA, if the ITC sticks with its preliminary ruling from February, things might get tight on the battery supply side for vehicle makers. SK Innovation will not be allowed to export EV batteries and manufacturing equipment to the United States. Dire news indeed, since the SK Innovation has two battery plants in the USA, one of which is under construction in Georgia.

It seems that both sides are quite wound up despite urging from both the Korean government and vehicle makers in the USA to resolve the dispute in a way that allows everyone to get on with business. Although the two Korean companies are trying to reach an out of court agreement, the talks are apparently “not going smoothly”, reports Korea JoongAng Daily.

The Korean news outlet wrote that SK finished its Thursday statement with the sentiment that the company “hopes to continue cooperation for the battery industry’s growth.” Showing a pretty hard line, LG Chem’s statement said that it intends to “push through all legal procedures to the very end if SK Innovation does not show sincerity.”

In July just passed we reported that Volkswagen and Ford jointly renewed their appeal to the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) to allow SK Innovation to manufacture batteries at its proposed factory in Georgia.

Volkswagen fears that a “catastrophic supply disruption” would be imminent if the case is not laid to rest. For their part, Ford emphasised that LG Chem’s assertion that it can replace SK Innovation as a supplier is not “credible” citing existing EV battery supply shortages and the long development period for EVs. The US carmaker also pointed to possible job losses should no agreement be reached.

The final decision with the ITC in the USA will be handed down in October. If SK Innovation indeed continues to challenge the ruling now made in Korea, this could go on for a while.

To be continued…,,


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