Nippon Steel, Posco Settle Lawsuit Over Alleged Trade Theft

South Korean steelmaker Posco paid 30 billion yen ($250 million) to its Japanese competitor and partner Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. to settle lawsuits over alleged patent infringement and illicit acquisition of manufacturing technology, according to a statement from the Tokyo-based company.

In the lawsuits that date from 2012, Nippon Steel accused South Korea’s top steelmaker of using trade secrets acquired illegally.

Nippon Steel, the world’s largest steelmaker by market value, had been seeking 98.6 billion yen in damages. The companies compete in their home markets and across Asia while owning minority stakes in each other as part of a strategic alliance that stretches back more than a decade.

The Japanese company alleged that Posco illegally obtained technology to produce grain-oriented electrical steel sheets, used in generators and transformers in power plants. Posco said in a statement Wednesday that three lawsuits had been withdrawn. The company had paid 30 billion yen “to strengthen the relationship” with Nippon Steel and would actively seek ways to boost co-operation.

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