Japan's Nippon Steel Corporation said on Thursday it had filed patent infringement lawsuits against Toyota Motor Corporation and China's Baoshan Iron & Steel Co., Ltd. with a Tokyo district court.
Nippon Steel is seeking 20 billion yen ($176 million) in damages from each company, alleging the two firms have infringed its patents on non-oriented magnetic steel sheets that are used in electric vehicles.
Two of Japan's manufacturing giants, the country's biggest steelmaker and automaker, slugging it out in court is a rare occurrence and signifies the high stakes involved in materials production as the global low-carbon revolution takes hold.
Nippon Steel, the world's fifth-biggest steelmaker by output, also filed a petition for a preliminary injunction prohibiting Toyota from manufacturing and selling motor-driven vehicles that use the electrical steel sheets allegedly violating its patents.
The company decided to take legal action after it could not reach a resolution through discussions with both companies.