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LG Energy Solution fires warning shot to patent infringers as battery industry prepares for wave of lawsuits


LG Energy Solution has said it will take a strong stance against those copying its technology following what it says is a surge in battery patent infringements, including in the ESS market.

The South Korea-headquartered company, which manufactures lithium-ion batteries as well as battery energy storage system (BESS) technology, said it will take strong countermeasures against what it called “patent free riders” who are “continuously violating” its patent rights.

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“The company sees a rising tide of latecomers’ deliberate and blatant unauthorised use of its patents across a wide range of commercialised products, including batteries for consumer electronics, energy storage systems (ESS), and electric vehicles (EV),” it said today (24 April).

It said there has been a surge in patent infringement by those latecomers which has led to market distortion, and called for strong countermeasures to “level the playing field”.

The topic of battery technology patents also came up during a panel discussion at Benchmark Mineral Intelligence’s Giga Europe conference covering Europe’s nascent battery industry in Sweden in February this year.

“There are a lot of patents out there within this space and we’re yet to see some of the major lawsuits,” said Richard Clark, global head of specialty materials and processes for Appian Capital Advisory.

“Silicon anodes for example has probably north of 1,000 patent families, who’s to say who owns what? But as soon as someone does, you know they’re going to be hammered by a lawsuit by everybody else who says they own it.”

“Solid state also has a lot of patents and LFP (lithium iron phosphate) only just came off patent. So I think we’re about to head into a grand era for the world’s understanding of patents and I think we are going to see a lot of lawsuits moving forward as the money involved becomes so large that it’s worth the time of employing a law firm.”

Clark was speaking on the ‘Cathodes, Anodes & Battery Innovation Panel: creating a European hub for mid stream capacity & next generation battery development’ session.

LFP batteries are the dominant lithium-ion battery chemistry in the ESS market, by far, and the main patent families relating to it expired in late 2022. Solid state lithium-ion battery technology is being developed by numerous battery technology companies and has big potential for EVs with its promise of much higher energy density and much faster charging times, with some potential use cases in ESS too.

Silicon anodes meanwhile are being developed in Europe and globally in order to reduce reliance on China for graphite, the main material used for battery anodes today. China supplies nearly 100% of graphite for batteries.

LG Energy Solution is a battery and energy storage technology spin-off of LG Chem, the chemicals arm of the large South Korean conglomerate. It was spun off from LG Chem into a separate company in 2021 but remains 80% owned by LG Chem.’ publisher Solar Media will host the 2nd Energy Storage Summit Asia, 9-10 July 2024 in Singapore. The event will help give clarity on this nascent, yet quickly growing market, bringing together a community of credible independent generators, policymakers, banks, funds, off-takers and technology providers. For more information, go to the website.

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