LG Chem is continuing to conduct business normally and winning orders despite an escalating legal battle with SK Innovation over technologies related to electric vehicle (EV) batteries, the company said Tuesday.
|LG Chem CEO Shin Hak-cheol|
The joint-venture company will have a 50:50 share structure, and the two sides will be jointly engaged in the production and sales of the batteries.
LG Chem has also reportedly won orders to supply batteries to Tesla's EVs, to be made at its Shanghai plant.
The nation's leading battery maker stressed the importance of protecting technologies to raise competitive power in the global market amid a rise in Chinese competitors and European carmakers' moves to produce their own batteries.
"It is important to protect trade secrets and knowhow to maintain gaps in technologies and cost competitiveness," LG Chem said. "There is no basis whatsoever that the ongoing lawsuits will undermine the national interest."
The comments came as some critics have claimed that the legal battle between the two battery makers will only cripple the local industry and damage the national interest.
LG Chem filed lawsuits with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and a U.S. court against SK Innovation at the end of April for allegedly stealing confidential business information through employee poaching.
In response, SK Innovation filed patent infringement lawsuits against LG Chem and its U.S. subsidiary, LG Chem Michigan, with the ITC and a U.S. court, and against LG Electronics with a U.S. court, Sept. 3.
LG Chem said nobody would increase investment in research and development if intellectual property rights are not protected.
"Lawsuits are a commonplace affair among global companies as they are one of the most important ways to protect rights," LG Chem said, citing that 577 suits have been filed with the ITC in the last decade.
LG Chem said it has also left open the possibility of negotiations, saying it was willing to push for a CEOs' meeting.