Celgard, a subsidiary of Polypore International (NYSE:PPO), has filed a complaint against LG Chem, alleging that the Korean chemical giant has infringed one of Celgard’s US patents for a battery separator.
The patent in question covers ceramic composite layer lithium-ion battery separators. Celgard filed the lawsuit following a lengthy period of discussions with LG regarding the two companies’ business relationship.
Battery separators, which keep anode and cathode apart (it would not be a happy meeting), are much in the news lately. As demand for lithium-ion batteries grows, the companies that make these critical components are embroiled in a web of intrigue. LG Chem recently lost a lawsuit with another Korean company, SK Innovation, which also involved battery separator patents.
“Celgard supported LG for years under a formalized memorandum of understanding that was intended to result in a long-term supply agreement, investing substantial capital at their request and developing and qualifying high-quality products with unique attributes,” said Polypore CEO Robert B. Toth. “Unfortunately, after a long period of support and discussions, LG’s recent approach and demands were simply unacceptable…representatives of LG have verbally stated that they are attempting to qualify alternate sources of supply to Celgard – an action we believe constitutes further infringement of our coating patents.”
Separately, Polypore announced this week that Celgard has entered into a long-term agreement to supply separators to Samsung SDI.