A billion dollar lithium-ion technology patent battle has begun with four companies embroiled in a US court lawsuit.
The Lawsuit was filed by BASF in US federal court in Delaware amid claims it lost billions of dollars due to alleged criminal behavior by Umicore.
Chemical company BASF Corporation and laboratory Chicago Argonne has accused battery materials company Umicore and Makita Corporation of using a key battery component to which BASF holds an exclusive license.
The lawsuit is in part about Umicore’s and Makita’s infringement of BASF’s and Argonne’s patents related to the chemical compositions of cathode active materials used in lithium-ion batteries.
BASF is licensed under a BASF/Argonne patents to market, produce, and sell dual-phase Nickel Cobalt and Manganese active cathode materials with excess lithium.
The patents are entitled “Lithium Metal Oxide Electrodes for Lithium Cells and Batteries,” and “Lithium Metal Oxide Electrodes for Lithium Cells and Batteries”.
Umicore also used ‘deceptive, tortuous and anticompetitive conduct’ to maintain its position as a primary supplier of cathode active materials at the expense of BASF, the lawsuit claims.
This includes Umicore threatening to sue an unnamed firm if it gave its business to the US company, according to the lawsuit.
No party was prepared to comment on the impending action.