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Nippon Steel filed lawsuit against business partner, Toyota over patent infringement

Legal Correspondent: Praveen Kumar

October 15, 2021:Nippon steel corporation sued Toyota Motor corporation for a patent, i.e., a technology used in the electric motors. This is a rare case of legal Japan's wrangling over intellectual property between Japan's top automaker and top steelmaker.

On 14th October, Nippon steel a Tokyo based firm, filed a lawsuit in Tokyo district court by demanding compensation for the damages totalling 20 billion yen ($177 m). And Nippon steel is also named Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., also known as Baosteel, a Chinese company that is a steelmaker that also allegedly violates the patent.

After becoming aware of the lawsuit, Toyota said "with great regret" that it had checked on possible patent conflicts with Baosteel. Toyota considers Nippon steel an "important business partner" "by supporting the Japanese auto industry for years; this is the statement given by Prius hybrid and Lexus luxury.

The main point of this lawsuit is that the Japanese patent for non-oriented electrical steel sheets, an indispensable component in electric motors used in EV's, powerplants and mobile phones, according to Nippon steel.

Officials at Nippon steel said the company prized technology is critical to its competitiveness as the world transitions to "a carbon-neutral society". Innovations that reduce emissions are increasingly needed in steel manufacturing.

Now, Nippon steel is also demanding a court injection against Toyota from Manufacturing and selling vehicles in Japans, which are produced using steel sheets.

Nippon also clarified that there would be no change to the plans to continue working with Toyota overall.


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