Short Circuit

LG Chem to enforce battery patents in court if necessary


South Korean chemical company LG Chem has a clear message for its competitors: It wants to “dominate” the global market for advanced EV batteries and – if it has to – enforce its patent rights for cathode materials with a high nickel content in court.

LG Chem said it acquired more than 40 patents related to high nickel cathode materials from Hanyang University in March 2022, including one that would allow it to increase the range of EVs by 20 to 30 per cent. These patents have been “registered in many countries, including Korea, China, the US, and Europe,” according to LG.

LG Chem proposed to license out its patents to Chinese cathode materials suppliers. “To that end, LG Chem plans to enforce its patent rights against other global cathode material companies,” LG Chem writes in a statement.

The offer was apparently made to “companies that mainly operate in the manufacture of high-nickel cathode materials.” However, the Korean group does not mention the names of the companies or the amount of the requested license payment.

“LG Chem’s high-nickel cathode materials patent plays a determinant role in the performance of lithium-ion batteries and is undoubtedly necessary for the advancement of the high-performance EV industry,” says an LG Chem representative, who was not even named in the company’s own press release. “We are willing to offer our patent portfolio to battery materials providers worldwide through various types of intellectual property business models.”

So, LG Chem wants to drive development of the battery materials industry by licensing its patents and thus spreading the word about its high-nickel materials, all while threatening to take legal action against companies that violate their patents. And that makes one thing clear: Cathode material licensing could become a new source of profit. LG does not quantify the exact amount but refers to market development. To that end, SNE Research predicts that the global market for cathode materials will grow 233 per cent from $35.6 billion this year to $82.9 billion in 2030.


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