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Nippon Steel drops patent lawsuit against Toyota

TOKYO (AP) – Nippon Steel Corp has dropped its lawsuit against Toyota Motor Corp over a patent for a technology used in electric motors, saying wrangling among Japanese companies was not beneficial to keep the nation competitive.

Toyota and Nippon Steel see their partnership as critical in the Japanese auto industry.

Japan’s top steelmaker said in a statement yesterday that such internal disputes were not fitting for a period of uncertainty and rapid change toward “carbon neutrality”, referring to the recent rush to develop electric vehicles.

The lawsuit over intellectual property demanding compensation for damages totalling JPY20 billion (USD133 million) was filed in Tokyo District Court in October 2021. Tokyo-based Nippon Steel said it is still suing Baoshan Iron & Steel Co, or Baosteel, a Chinese steelmaker that produces and supplies the steel that it alleges violates the patent.

The lawsuit against Toyota, Japan’s biggest automaker, was related to steel sheets used in electric vehicle motors and manufactured by Baosteel.

A rolling process of Nippon Steel’s and Sumitomo Metal Corp’s iron mill plant in Japan. PHOTO: AFP