SK Innovation defeats request to exclude lithium-ion battery technology in ITC dispute with LG Chem
Clients SK Innovation Co., Ltd
Jones Day clients SK Innovation Co., Ltd. and SK Battery America, Inc., following an evidentiary hearing in December 2020, prevailed against LG Chem et al. in a patent infringement dispute before the International Trade Commission (ITC) involving lithium-ion battery technology used in electric vehicles. On Wednesday, March 31, 2021, Administrative Law Judge Lord issued her Initial Determination (“ID”) finding no violation of Section 337 of the Tariff Act by SKI’s lithium-ion battery technology. LG Energy Solution (LG Chem at the time the complaint was filed) asserted four U.S. patents against SKI. The ID found that (1) the asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,662,517 are not infringed and the domestic industry requirement was not satisfied; (2) the asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,638,241 are not infringed and invalid; (3) the asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,709,152 are invalid; and (4) asserted claims 5 and 26 of U.S. Patent No. 7,771,877 are invalid and the domestic industry requirement was not satisfied. As a result, the separators and cathode active materials that will be used in SKI’s new plant in Georgia are not to be excluded from importation by any exclusion order issuing from this Investigation. The ID remains subject to review by the full Commission and a Final Determination is expected from the Commission on August 2, 2021.
The corresponding case in U.S. district court remains stayed pending the issuance of the ITC's Final Determination. These matters have received significant attention from the Korean media, government and public, as they involve two major Korean companies in a U.S. legal dispute.
LG Chem, Ltd. et al. v. SK Innovation Co., Ltd. et al., No. 1-19-cv-01805 (D. Del.); Certain Lithium-Ion Battery Cells, Battery Modules, Battery Packs, Components Thereof, And Products Containing the Same, Investigation No. 337-TA-1181 (ITC)