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Prized EV metal sparks Nippon Steel lawsuit against top buyer Toyota

Legal fight between partners reflects power of intellectual property for electric cars

A red-hot slab rolls along a line at a steel mill run by Nippon Steel. (Photo by Kotaro Igarashi)

TOKYO -- With its lawsuits announced Thursday, Nippon Steel has mounted a defense of a patented material in demand for electrified vehicles, going as far as taking top customer Toyota Motor to court.

Japan's top steelmaker accuses China's Baoshan Iron & Steel of supplying steel that infringes on its patent to Toyota, saying the automaker is at fault for selling cars that the offending motor material.

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