SEOUL, March 11 (Yonhap) — LG Energy Solution Ltd. and SK Innovation Co. — South Korea’s top two battery makers — have discussed ways to resolve a trade secret lawsuit in the United States, but they failed to narrow their differences over the amount of settlement, industry sources said Thursday.
On Feb. 10, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in favor of LG Chem Ltd.’s battery division in a trade secret case and issued a 10-year import ban on some lithium-ion battery products by SK Innovation.
The ruling could jeopardize SK Innovation’s $2.6 billion battery factory currently under construction in Georgia if President Joe Biden does not veto the ruling within 60 days or the two companies do not reach a compromise within the presidential review period.
Senior officials of the two sides last week negotiated settlements, but LG demanded a bigger amount of compensation from SK than it had before the ITC decision, which was nearly 3 trillion won (US$2.6 billion), according to industry sources.
SK Innovation said its board of directors was briefed on the latest development and delivered an opinion that it “won’t accept the competitor’s demand that would make SK Innovation’s U.S. battery business meaningless or severely hurt its competitiveness.”
In response, LG Energy Solution said it is “regrettable” that its rival still denies its unlawful acts despite the ITC’s final ruling, adding it has not shown a sincere attitude to resolve the issue.
“If the competitor sincerely comes to the negotiating table and presents a discussable offer, it will be able to offer compensations in various forms, including cash, royalty and stakes, which its shareholders and investors can accept,” LG Energy Solution said in a statement, without elaborating on the amount.
SK claims it does not need LG’s trade secrets as its development and manufacturing method of EV batteries is different from its rival and received an unfavorable ITC ruling due to destruction of evidence.
The ITC ruling allowed some exemptions, permitting SK to import components for domestic production of batteries for Ford’s EV F-150 program for four years and for Volkswagen America’s MEB electric vehicle line for two years.