An LG Chem office in Korea / Courtesy of LG Chem

United States ITC rules in favor of LG over SK

South Korean electric vehicle (EV) battery maker LG Chem practically wins out in the year-long legal battle in the Untied States and here against its crosstown rival SK Innovation.

LG Chem said February 16 that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) made a preliminary ruling last week in favor of the company over SK Innovation.

Since last April, LG Chem has claimed that SK Innovation had stolen its trade secrets over EV battery. The controversy resulted in a total of eight lawsuits in the U.S. and Korea.

In particular, LG Chem asked the ITC made an early decision on the case, claiming that SK Innovation tries to destroy evidence, while not abiding by the digital forensic orders of the ITC.

The ITC decision shows how badly SK Innovation behaved in the legal battle,” an LG Chem official said. “We will put forth efforts to keep our intellectual property rights on EV batteries.”

The ITC, which sided with LG Chem, is set to come up with its final decision by October 5. Observers point out that the trade panel typically maintains its stance in making the final call.

If the ITC makes the same decision later this year, SK Innovation will not be allowed to export any EV battery-related products to the United States.

That would be big trouble for SK Innovation, which is set to invest $1.6 billion to build an EV battery factory in the U.S.

In addition, SK Innovation might have to pay out a big amount of compensation to LG Chem.

At this climate, SK Innovation came up with a statement, hinting the possibility of reaching a settlement agreement. If the two sides make a deal before the final ITC ruling, there would be no export embargo.

LG Chem is our rival. And at the same time, it is our partner with which we have to collaborate to develop the industrial ecosystem,” it said.

LG Chem has said that it is open to negotiation.