BASF and Umicore have entered into a non-exclusive patent agreement covering a broad range of cathode materials and their precursors. The cross-licensing deal covers more than 100 patent families filed in Europe, the USA, China, Korea and Japan.
This includes chemical compositions such as nickel-cobalt-manganese (NCM), nickel-cobalt-aluminium (NCA), nickel-cobalt-manganese-aluminium (NCMA) and lithium-rich high-energy manganese NCM (HE NCM), according to BASF. Both parties reserve the right to assert their own IP rights against third parties in the future.
Both companies have invested heavily in developing cathode materials and their precursors with a low, medium and high nickel content in recent years so that both companies now have an “extensive and largely complementary patent portfolio”.
With the new licensing agreement, both companies want to meet their customers’ technological needs better if they can access each other’s technologies. This should also allow them to increase the pace of product development, BASF says. For example, they can access patents on features such as chemical composition, morphological properties of powders and chemical stability and combine them with their own knowledge.
“This agreement with Umicore enables even faster, more sustainable and innovative battery materials development to serve our customers, including battery cell manufacturers and automotive,” said Peter Schuhmacher, President of BASF’s Catalysts division. “The continuous development of battery materials will accelerate the transformation towards full electrification and thus support the world’s efforts to fight climate change.”
Marc Grynberg, CEO of Umicore, added: “This agreement with BASF is an important step in promoting cathode material innovation. It strengthens our technology positioning and further increases our ability to develop bespoke solutions which meet the most stringent performance and quality standards of our battery and automotive customers.”