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US commission says SK stole LG's EV battery trade secrets
The US International Trade Commission ruled that SK Innovation Co. misappropriated the EV battery rade secrets of its South Korean rival LG Energy Solution Ltd.
According to the ITC, SK ordered the destruction of evidence at a high level, which was carried out by department heads throughout SK.
The commission also said SK's conduct demonstrates flagrant bad faith in destroying documents, excusing that destruction as routine, and otherwise trying to hide that destruction.
The commission's statement came about a month after ruling in favor of LG Energy Solution in a trade secret case and issuing a 10-year import ban on some of SK's lithium-ion battery products.
Last month, the ITC affirmed a February 2020 preliminary ruling to support LG Energy's claims that SK Innovation used stolen trade secrets to develop its electric vehicle batteries.
The ITC banned SK from importing some lithium-ion batteries and their components for 10 years. But it allowed shipments of components for domestic production of its clients, including Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG, and Kia Corp., out of public interest.
On Thursday, the ITC said it is clear that SK did not have the personnel or ability to develop the trade information in less than ten years without stealing LG Chem's trade secrets.
SK, which is building an EV factory in Georgia and pledged to hire 2,600 people by 2024, said it will ask President Joe Biden to exercise his veto power over the commission's decision. The Biden administration has 60 days to review the ruling.
The ITC's decision could jeopardize SK's promises to create American jobs.
SK claims that it does not need LG's trade secrets as its development and manufacturing method is different.