Nippon Steel & Toyota: Legal Entanglements Unravel

ToyotaImage Source: SteelGuru


Nippon Steel has withdrawn its patent lawsuits against Toyota and Mitsui, focusing instead on its ongoing case against China's Baoshan Iron & Steel. The company is asserting its intellectual property rights related to electrical steel sheets, crucial for automobile electrification, reports Reuters.


Nippon Steel, Japan's prominent steel manufacturer, has recently made headlines by retracting its patent infringement lawsuits against automotive giant Toyota and trading company Mitsui. The legal actions, originally filed in 2021, were centered around the alleged unauthorized use of patents on non-oriented electrical steel sheets, a vital component in electric vehicles.

The lawsuits, aimed at Toyota, Mitsui, and Chinese firm Baoshan Iron & Steel, were an unprecedented move by Nippon Steel, marking the first such legal dispute with Toyota, a key customer. The withdrawal signifies a strategic pivot, with Nippon Steel abandoning claims against its Japanese counterparts while maintaining its legal stance against Baoshan Iron & Steel.

In a statement, Nippon Steel expressed its intention to staunchly defend its intellectual property rights. The firm regards these patents as essential outcomes of their technological advancements, especially pivotal in the current climate of global decarbonization efforts.

Baoshan Iron & Steel, on their end, has vowed to actively contest the lawsuit, upholding their commitment to comply with intellectual property laws and defending their corporate interests vigorously.

The termination of the legal fray with Toyota was described by Nippon Steel as a move conducive to bolstering Japan's industrial competitiveness. The company underscored the importance of unity between Japan's steel and automotive sectors, especially in the race toward decarbonization and automobile electrification.

Nippon Steel emphasized the imperative to fortify collaboration with Toyota in various domains, including electric vehicle development and carbon footprint reduction initiatives. This alignment between two of Japan's industrial behemoths underscores the broader national agenda to lead in sustainable manufacturing and technological innovation.

The litigation against Baoshan Iron & Steel, however, continues, as Nippon Steel remains firm on protecting its innovations, signifying the intensifying global contest over green technology and intellectual property rights.


Nippon Steel's decision to drop lawsuits against Toyota and Mitsui but continue its case against Baoshan Iron & Steel reflects a strategic shift towards reinforcing domestic alliances in Japan’s journey towards sustainable industry practices. This move also reiterates the value and significance of intellectual property in the era of green technology.

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