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Nippon Steel-Toyota feud harks back to tech leaks to South Korea

POSCO espionage case seen at heart of patent suits between Japanese partners

A Nippon Steel plant in Kure, Hiroshima. (Photo by Mao Kawano)

TOKYO -- Nippon Steel's patent infringement lawsuits against Toyota Motor and China's Baoshan Iron & Steel are an extremely rare case of a Japanese materials company taking one of its principal domestic customers to court.

What pushed the steelmaker to this drastic action? Some observers say it could be connected to past technology leaks to China and South Korea.

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