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SK wins law suit over IP with Tonen of Japan Contents
title SK wins law suit over IP with Tonen of Japan
attachment date 2007-01-12 count 15872
- SK pressed charges with FSS on Tonens law suit to undermine sales activities
- Plans underway to expand to 4 LiBS plants by 2010

SK won over an intellectual property law suit raised by Tonen of Japan on LiBS (lithium ion battery separator) under Seoul District Court of Law, amid public criticism over foreign players raising reckless IP law suit on domestic companies.

Tonen is a subsidiary of Exxon-Mobil in Japan who dominate the Korean market together with another Japanese firm named Asahi Chemical Industry. In December 2004, SK became the third player in the world and first in Korea to develop LiBS with mass production in December 2005. In March, Tonen filed a law suit against SK for violating domestic IP right and sales confidentiality.

The Seoul District Court ruled in last 11th, after a one-year law suit, that SK did not violate IR rights and sales confidentiality and dismissed the case. LiBS is a core component of lithium ion battery that transmits ion via nano size (1/1 billion) stoma and separates anode with cathode.

Lithium batteries have 50% of share in secondary battery market and demand is rapidly increasing around mobile handset and laptop PCs. Accordingly, LiBS market is growing 15~20% every year. For this very reason, some speculate that Tonen’s law suit was more targeted at undermining sales of late followers rather than winning the case. Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has announced in the past to regulate foreign players from filing law suits to delay market share increase of followers by manipulating IP law system. SK views Tonen’s law suit as part of unfair act and has pressed charges with the FTC.

SK, on the other hand, has gained momentum to aggressively pursue marketing activity with official recognition of its technology stand-alone, break through technology. Head of SKIT, Wansik, Kim commented, “Korea is a large market where 30% of global lithium ion battery is consumed. We expect to see 100 billion won in impact by replacing imports.”
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