Tech

Toyota has been accused of using motor technology stolen in a rare proceeding

Tokyo-

Toyota

TM -0.15%

Motor Corp. used technology stolen from the steel of electric motors.

Nippon Steel Ltd

NPSCY -2.00%

A rare public clash between Toyota and its longtime ally was alleged in a patent infringement lawsuit on Thursday.

Supplier such as Nippon Steel Higher raw material costs..

Nippon Steel has long supplied the backbone material used in Toyota, which is sold all over the world. Recently, Toyota has also dealt with a rival supplier, a Chinese steelmaker.

Baoshan Iron & Steel Ltd

600019 0.26%

Nippon Steel Proceedings in Tokyo District Court Name both Toyota and Hoyama. Chinese companies claim to have infringed patents on the materials used in the steel sheets that form the core of some electric vehicle motors, and Toyota continued to purchase from Hoyama after being told it was suspected of infringing. doing.

A Japanese steelmaker has sought an injunction to prevent the manufacture and sale of Toyota vehicles using motors using the material in question and damages worth approximately $ 176 million. I asked Hoyama for the same amount.

Toyota Said to check We received a written guarantee with Hoyama that the materials of the Chinese company did not infringe the patent. Toyota said Nippon Steel and Hoyama should have solved the problem.

“We were very disappointed with the proceedings and found out,” Toyota said. Nippon Steel states that it is an important business partner.

Hoyama, also known as Baosteel, disagreed with Nippon Steel’s allegations and said he would defend his interests in court. Hoyama said he sought evidence from Nippon Steel and said Japanese companies refused to cooperate.

Nippon Steel has not disclosed the vehicles subject to the injunction, and Toyota has not disclosed how the proceedings could affect its business.

The proceedings are noteworthy in that they have been filed. The dispute between Japanese automakers like Toyota and their suppliers is rarely published. Japanese manufacturers have been offering steady business for decades in exchange for loyalty from companies like Nippon Steel.

Currently, these relationships are under pressure. Japan’s new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has called on large corporations to stop what he calls supplier bullying. “Profit is not properly distributed in the supply chain,” he said in September.

Recently, there has been a surge in temperament about who should bear the burden of rising iron ore prices.

At a press conference in August, Nippon Steel executives expressed dissatisfaction with the deal that caused suppliers to swallow soaring raw material costs. The company’s president, Eiji Hashimoto, said Japanese customers demand unreasonable conditions compared to other customers.

Jeffreys’ Tokyo-based steel analyst Tan Ha Fam said such complaints were rare in Japan. “Until now, Nippon Steel has been a very Japanese company that respects the relationships with these customers, and Toyota was the emperor,” Fam said. “But Nippon Steel has welcomed a new sheriff, President Hashimoto, to the town. He is choosing to fight Toyota.”

Since taking office in 2019, Mr. Hashimoto has closed Japanese factories and old production lines to increase profits. Meanwhile, he doubled state-of-the-art steel products such as electrical steel sheets that form the basis of Thursday’s proceedings. This material forms the central hub of the electric motor and involves a complex manufacturing process to make the steel highly conductive.

Last year, Nippon Steel announced that it would spend about $ 1 billion to increase production of these steel sheets by about 40%. Toyota is considered a major customer of this part.

Nippon Steel said it would like to continue selling to Toyota despite a lawsuit that it needed to protect its intellectual property. “We have a lot of business with Toyota, and the fact that Toyota is an important customer remains the same,” said Takeshi Yoshizumi, a spokesman for Nippon Steel.

Write to Chieko Tsuneoka chieko.Tsuneoka@dowjones.com And Sean McLean sean.mclain@wsj.com

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Toyota has been accused of using motor technology stolen in a rare proceeding

Source link Toyota has been accused of using motor technology stolen in a rare proceeding

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