Nippon Steel Corp. has filed a lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan, alleging an infringement of the supplier’s patent relating to electrical steel sheets.
The Japanese steelmaker has also applied for a preliminary injunction in the Tokyo District Court prohibiting Toyota, the world’s No. 1 automaker, from manufacturing and selling cars fitted with motors that use the sheets in question, according to a statement Thursday. Nippon Steel is seeking damages of around 20 billion yen ($177 million).
Nippon Steel also Thursday said it’s taking similar action against China’s Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., seeking compensatory damages of around 20 billion yen.
“Nippon Steel conducted discussions with each of Baosteel and Toyota based on its belief that its patent relating to non-oriented electrical steel sheets, which are indispensable materials for automobile electrification, has been infringed,” the Tokyo-based company said.
“However, Nippon Steel was unable to reach a resolution of the matter. Nippon Steel is taking these legal actions to protect its intellectual property rights on the alleged products.”
A spokesperson for Toyota said the automaker had confirmed in an earlier contract the patents weren’t infringed, adding it was “very regrettable that we are being sued.”
A representative from Baoshan Iron & Steel wasn’t immediately able to comment.
Electrical steel sheets are a type of high-grade steel with enhanced magnetic properties that help to limit energy loss. They’re widely used as “iron cores” for electric generators in power plants, electrical products, cars and even vibration motors in mobile phones.
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