SK Innovation stole a technology that LG Energy Solution spent billions of dollars over decades to develop. It was an investment in a cleaner, greener future.

Innovators must have confidence that their sacrifices will be protected. That's what this case is aboutfuture innovation that will address the transcendent threat of a warming planet.

LG Chem, from which LG Energy Solution was spun off in 2020, began mass producing Korea’s first lithium-ion batteries in 1999–a full six years before SKI entered the market.

By 2011, LG Chem had become the world’s third-largest battery maker.

In 2019 the company entered into joint venture with General Motors to produce lithium-ion cells for electric vehicles at a major manufacturing facility in Ohio. A year later, LG Chem had become the largest provider of batteries for electric vehicles in the world.


Beginning in 2016, SK Innovation begins hiring dozens of LG Chem engineers and critical business services staff. An internal audit revealed some of these employees downloaded 400 to 1,900 key technical documents from LG Chem’s data servers before their move to SK.

SK Innovation’s aggregated amount of EV battery supply in contract increased by more than 14 times between 2016, when it began misappropriating LG Chem’s trade secrets, and 2019, when it announced plans to build a major manufacturing plant in Georgia.

In April 2019, LG Chem filed a pair of federal lawsuits alleging SKI’s trade secret misappropriation. The very next day, one SKI executive emailed staff: "Delete every material related to the rival company from every single individual's PC, mail storage archives and team rooms. ASAP. ... Delete this email after completing this direction."

SK Innovation stole in just a few years a technological know-how that LG Chem spent decades developing. It gave them an unfair and unlawful advantage when pursuing customers in the United States and across the world. 

 

After a trial and an exhaustive two-year investigation, the USITC sided with LG Energy Solution in February 2021. Now President Joe Biden has 60 days to review the decision before it takes full effect. Upholding the Commission's decision is the right choice—for LG Energy Solution, for Georgia, for innovators everywhere, and for the future.

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