• Kyodo

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Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. said Wednesday it has reached a settlement with major South Korean steel maker Posco and its subsidiaries over damages suits related to the Japanese company’s proprietary steel sheet production technology.

Nippon Steel said it had received ¥30 billion ($250 million) under the settlement the same day, bringing an end to lawsuits filed in Japan, the United States and South Korea.

The Japanese steel maker said it has “concluded that it could succeed in ensuring adequate conditions to achieve its intended purposes to a certain extent, and decided to agree on the settlement, taking also into account other factors including the progress and state of the lawsuits.”

In the suit filed with the Tokyo District Court in April 2012, Nippon Steel argued that Posco illicitly obtained its technology for grain-oriented electrical steel used in electric generators, hybrid cars and other products.

Nippon Steel had sought ¥98.6 billion in damages and a court order banning Posco from producing and selling steel sheet using the technology.

The Japanese steel maker developed the technology to enhance the electrical power transmission efficiency of steel sheet in the 1990s. The quality of Posco’s products had improved since around 2004 to 2005, pushing up its market share.

Nippon Steel filed a similar lawsuit in the United States against Posco, while Posco filed a countersuit in South Korea.

The Japanese steel maker, formed through the merger of Nippon Steel Corp. and Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd., said it will maintain its strategic partnership agreed with Posco in 2000.

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