Bug or Feature? Material elements are instances of each other

So I have a model of a chair with several LODs. The problem is that a material element in one of the LODs seems to be permanently linked to an element in one of the other LODs- but they shouldn’t be. One of the elements is supposed to be a metal arm rest (LOD2, element 5), the other element a plastic seat back (LOD3, element 0).

When ever I assign a material to one of those elements, the other one adopts the same material and I can not find a way to unlink this relationship.

While I still don’t know the best fix for this issue, I worked around it by completely deleting the object from my project and imported a new version of it with a new name.

I think the problem arose from either a) I updated the asset and added more LODs than it had the first time I imported it, or b) I updated the asset and added more material elements than it originally had. (Or both).