SK Innovation and LG Energy Solution agree settlement to end trade secrets legal battle

by Margaret Lau
President Joe Biden said the settlement is a 'win' for the US auto industry. Photo: The White House
South Korean battery rivals SK Innovation and LG Energy Solution have agreed a deal that drops all litigation in a trade secrets dispute – and allows both firms to continue to expand in the US market.

SK Innovation (SKI) confirmed it will provide LG Energy Solution (LES) a total of KRW 2tn (£1.3bn) and both sides have agreed to withdraw all pending disputes in the US and Korea, and not to assert new claims for the next 10 years.

SKI had been facing a US ban on its imports by the US International Trade Commission, after losing a trade secrets case brought by its rival.

However, President Joe Biden hailed the settlement as a "win” for the US auto industry. He said it would provide particular relief for workers in Georgia – where SKI’s SK Battery America subsidiary is investing in lithium-ion battery production facilities for electric vehicles.

'Amicable settlement'

SKI's CEO and president Jun Kim and the CEO and president of LES, Jong Hyun Kim, said in a statement: "We have decided to settle and to compete in an amicable way, all for the future of the US and South Korean electric vehicle battery industries.”

"In particular, we will work together to strengthen an EV battery domestic supply chain and support the Biden administration’s effort to advance green energy policies and environmental responsibility.”

Mass production at SK Battery America’s first Georgia plant is set to start in 2022, followed by the second EV battery facility in 2023.

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