Ube Industries, Ltd. announced that it has reached agreement with Amperex Technology Limited (ATL) to license several Ube-owned patents on lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and electrolytes to ATL. The agreement will serve to strengthen the business relationship between Ube Industries and ATL.
The market for lithium-ion batteries is growing today, centering on applications for portable consumer devices such as mobile phones, laptop computers and digital cameras. Meanwhile, demand is expected to grow significantly in the future for industrial and storage battery applications including automotive applications such as in hybrid and electric vehicles.
Ube commercially supplies electrolytes and separators, which comprise two of the four key components of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Ube was the first company to bring “functional electrolytes” to the electrolytes market in 1997, leveraging proprietary organic synthesis technology and electrochemical expertise. Since then, Ube has expanded its range of products based on the concept of improving battery performance by mixing additives to high-purity electrolytes. Ube’s electrolytes have played an important role in improving the performance of lithium ion batteries, resulting in a wide range of applications for lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in recent years.
Ube owns important patents on lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and electrolytes. The research firm Patent Result Co., Ltd. conducted a survey on organic electrolyte patents in 2010 and reported that Ube “owns many high-profile patents*” and ranked Ube as the No.1 company overall based on a comprehensive assessment of the quality and volume of patents.
ATL is particularly competitive in the segment of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that are compact and flexible in shape. ATL has leveraged its proprietary expertise in the areas of materials technology, cell design technology, strict production engineering and quality control to build a framework for mass production that delivers stable quality and high reliability battery products. Taking advantage of their flexible shape, ATL batteries are widely used in varieties of consumer electronic products and IT gadgets.
By licensing its technology to ATL, Ube will leverage “functional electrolytes” to strengthen its presence in the lithium-ion rechargeable battery market, while at the same time establishing a positive relationship with ATL.