Ningde Times (300750.SZ) sues CALB (03931.HK) for patent infringement case turning.
CALB announced on August 3rd that, in response to the intellectual property infringement lawsuit filed by Ningde Times against CALB regarding positive electrode slices, batteries, and lithium-ion battery invention patents, both of the patents involved in the lawsuit have been declared completely invalid by the National Intellectual Property Office.
According to Article 2 of the “Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues concerning the Application of Laws in the Trial of Patent Infringement Dispute Cases (Amended in 2020)”, if a patentee asserts a claim that has been declared invalid by the State Intellectual Property Administration under the State Council during a patent infringement lawsuit, the people’s court hearing the case may rule to dismiss the lawsuit based on that invalidated claim.
Regarding this, CATL replied on August 5th that they have received the notice and plan to file an administrative lawsuit within the statutory time limit to protect their legal rights. As for other patent infringement cases against CALB, the progress is currently proceeding normally.
The patent litigation between the two parties has previously received a first-instance judgment from Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court. After CALB appealed to the Supreme People’s Court (hereinafter referred to as the ‘Supreme Court’), it is currently under review by the Supreme Court and no effective judgment has been made yet.
Ningde Times and CALB have been in constant dispute, and the patent legal dispute that has attracted public attention has lasted for two years.
Starting from July 2021, CATL has been officially sued by Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. for patent infringement. They have filed lawsuits against CATL for infringing on five of their patents, and the amount of compensation claimed has gradually increased. The total accumulated claim amount has reached approximately 648 million yuan (90 million US Dollar). Among them, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Ltd. is claiming 108 million yuan (15 million US Dollar) for two patents related to lithium-ion batteries and positive electrode films.
On February 21, 2023, the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court issued a first-instance judgment on two patent infringement lawsuits. CALB was found guilty of infringement and ordered to compensate CATL with 57.1 million yuan (7.9 million US Dollar). The Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court also required CALB to cease the sale of infringing products involved in the lawsuit.
On the same day, CALB announced that in the field of power batteries, there is rapid technological progress and product iteration. The products involved in the lawsuit are at the end of their lifecycle and have already been replaced by our company’s newer products with superior performance. CALB also mentioned that the company will appeal to the Supreme Court during the appeal period regarding the first-instance judgment.
Besides the progress made in the litigation of lithium-ion batteries, positive electrode sheets, and battery-related matters, there has also been a verdict on the litigation between CATL and CALB regarding current collectors and battery patents. CALB has been ordered to pay compensation of 2.96 million yuan (412 thousand US Dollar). Similar to the aforementioned patent litigation case, CALB has also expressed its intention to appeal to the Supreme Court.
Times Weekly reporters noticed that CALB had previously submitted a request for invalidation of the flow field components and battery patents to the National Intellectual Property Office, but after examination by the National Intellectual Property Office, parts of the patent were maintained as valid. CALB has filed an administrative lawsuit with Beijing Intellectual Property Court, seeking to overturn the examination decision.
At present, out of the five patent infringement lawsuits in dispute between both parties, only two cases are yet to be ruled upon in the first instance. However, there is a possibility of ‘reversal’ in the cases where the patents involved have been declared invalid.
Although the dispute between CALB and CATL has not been resolved, it is an undeniable fact that there is a significant gap in their market positions.
According to SNE Research data, in the first half of 2023, the global installed capacity of power batteries reached 304.3GWH, with a year-on-year growth of 50.1%. During the same period, CALB’s global market share was 4.3%, while CATL accounted for 36.8%, indicating a significant gap between the two companies. CATL maintains a solid industry position and remains the only power battery enterprise globally with a market share exceeding 30%, holding this position for six consecutive years.
Both companies’ stock prices were not significantly affected by this news. On August 4th, CALB closed at HKD 18.00 per share, up 1.01%; CATL closed at CNY 245.51 per share, up 2.66%, with a market value of approximately CNY 1.08 trillion.