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LG Energy Solution vows stern action to protect patent rights

April 24, 2024 - 15:15 By Moon Joon-hyun
LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Dong-myung speaks at a media briefing during the InterBattery exhibition in Seoul last month. (LG Energy Solution)

LG Energy Solution announced new stringent policies Wednesday to address rampant patent infringements by what it describes as "patent free-riders."

The nation's top battery maker plans to enforce its intellectual property through legal actions and promote equitable competition by contributing to a legitimate battery patent licensing market.

This decision comes in response to an increasing number of companies -- both new entrants and established manufacturers -- exploiting LG Energy Solution’s patented technologies without permission. These infringements span an array of applications, including batteries designed for electric vehicles, consumer electronics and energy storage systems, with unauthorized uses detected in products across major markets like Europe and China.

For example, LG Energy Solution has pinpointed over 30 patent violations in EV battery components and manufacturing technologies after preliminary investigations into an EV battery supplier. Similarly, more than 50 potential infringements were identified with another supplier involving consumer devices like laptops and cellphones powered by batteries using LG’s patented technologies, which include innovations in coated separators, cathode materials and electrolyte additives.

As a pioneering player in the battery industry, having started its research and development in 1992 and achieving mass production by 1999, LG Energy Solution has built a robust portfolio of over 30,000 issued patents from more than 58,000 applications globally. The company has vigorously defended its IP rights for a long time, winning significant cases in international jurisdictions including the United States and Germany.

However, the dramatic expansion of the EV battery market, which has grown from 28 gigawatt-hours in 2015 to 706GWh in 2023, and with projections to reach 5,256GWh by 2035, has escalated competition and IP challenges. LG Energy Solution reports that many new market entrants bypass patent procedures, choosing instead to infringe on existing patents as a shortcut to entry and expansion in key markets.

As of now, the Korean battery maker has identified over 1,000 patents as highly strategic, with at least 580 likely infringed upon by competitors. The company's patented technologies include the Double Layer Slot Die Coating process for anodes and innovative cathode material treatments, crucial for the next generation of battery technologies.

"Protecting IP rights is vital for fair global competition. We are committed to vigorously defending our patents and establishing a legitimate battery patent licensing market," said LG Energy Solution CEO Kim Dong-myung.

Should collaborative efforts to establish a fair licensing regime fail, the company emphasized it would not hesitate to bolster its litigation strategies to aggressively defend its IP rights. This includes enhancing its capabilities in key markets like the US, Europe, and China, aiming to "secure the future of both the company and the global battery industry through rigorous patent enforcement," a company official said.