Nippon Steel sues Baosteel, looks to block sales of some Toyota EVs in patent dispute

Nippon Steel Corp. filed a lawsuit in Tokyo District Court against state-owned Chinese steel maker Baosteel for infringing on a patent for producing non-oriented electrical steel sheets used in electric vehicle motors. 

The Japanese steelmaker also filed a petition in the same court, seeking to block Toyota Motor Corp. from selling EVs fitted with motors using Baosteel steel sheets.

Nippon Steel is seeking 20 billion Japanese yen ($175 million) in compensation from Baosteel and Toyota each, according to the lawsuit filed against the two companies on Oct. 14.

“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; however, Nippon Steel was unable to reach a resolution of the matter,” the Japanese steelmaker said.

Baosteel, a Shanghai-listed company, refutes Nippon Steel’s claims, saying it would “actively respond to the lawsuit and resolutely defend our company’s interest”.

Toyota, in an Oct. 14 statement, said it had confirmed with Baosteel that “there was no infringement of another company’s patent” before signing a purchase  contract for steel sheets. 

Non-oriented electrical steel sheets are widely used to produce the iron cores in rotating machines such as motors, Nippon Steel said.

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