Hong Kong-listed Chinese battery manufacturer CALB has filed a lawsuit, suing its competitor CATL for alleged unfair competition by abusing patent rights for malicious rights protection and wanton slander, Sina Tech reported on December 29. CALB confirmed the matter but declined to disclose any specific details. CATL has not yet responded to this news.
Since July last year, CATL has sued CALB for unfair competition and infringing on its five battery patents, with a total claim of 647 million yuan ($92 million). In November this year, a court in Fujian Province made a first-instance judgment on the patent infringements of current collecting components and batteries, requiring CALB to compensate a total of 2.96 million yuan to CATL. The original compensation claimed by CATL was as high as 12.5 million yuan.
In the above judgment, the court also asked CALB to stop selling products that infringed the invention patent rights in CATL. CALB responded that it no longer sells batteries related to patents involved in litigation, and will appeal again.
Wu Di, head of the intellectual property department at CALB, said at a media event in September this year that the intellectual property work of the company is deeply bound with its operation. On the one hand, the company’s innovation will be protected through intellectual property rights, and on the other hand, prevention work will be carried out to ensure the company’s business safety. “Patent infringement litigation is a common means in commercial competition activities. The plaintiff expected to make a great impact on competitors’ commercial business, instead of claiming compensation,” said Wu. He also expressed full confidence in the final result of the litigation with CATL.
According to the China Automotive Power Battery Industry Innovation Alliance, CATL and CALB ranked first and third in the domestic power battery market in the first 11 months of this year, with market shares of 48% and 6.7% respectively. The market share of CALB has risen rapidly, from ninth place in 2018 to third place now. Changan Automobile, GAC and XPeng have successively taken it as a second supplier.
According to the prospectus, from 2019 to 2021, the average selling price of CALB’s batteries was 0.87 yuan/Wh, 0.64 yuan/Wh and 0.65 yuan/Wh respectively. According to Soochow Securities’ forecast, the average price of power batteries in CATL in 2021 is 0.89 yuan/Wh, down 12% year-on-year, mainly due to the increase in the proportion of lithium-iron batteries.