Patent Win Frees SK to Make Leading-Edge EV Batteries

SK Innovation’s success on its suit to nullify a patent filed by rival LG Chem has freed it to speed up development of cutting-edge electric vehicle (EV) batteries that some expect will be the world’s most advanced, according to JoongAng Ilbo.

The Korea Intellectual Property Tribunal ruled last Thursday that LG Chem’s Lithium-ion Battery Separator (LiBS) isn’t sufficiently different from similar products made by SK, supporting SK’s request for a nullification of LG’s patent on that technology.

The LiBS technology was developed independently by SK in late 2004. A year later SK built a plant and began production. Last December LG Chem filed a patent infringement suit claiming that SK’s LiBS infringed on LG’s Safety Reinforced Separator (SRS) technology.

SK countered by asking the Korea Intellectual Property Office to revoke LG’s SRS patent and that SK’s LiBS based on independently developed technology called Ceramic Coated Separator (CCS).

SK had already prevailed in 2010 in a 2007 case filed in Japan by Tonen over similar EV technology.

Its latest court win frees SK to speed up development of EV batteries by inking a joint-venture deal with German auto parts maker Continental to co-develop EV batteries. The tieup is expected by some analysts to lead to production of the world’s highest-quality EV batteries.

An SK plant in Seosan in South Chungcheong will soon begin producing batteries for 10,000 20-kilowatt-hour EV vehicles.