Kolon Industries Charged With Stealing DuPont Secrets
By Tom Schoenberg – Oct 18, 2012 10:48 AM ET
Kolon Industries Inc. (120110) and five of its executives were charged with stealing trade secrets fromDuPont Co. (DD) related to the manufacture of Kevlar, an anti-ballistic fiber used in police and military gear.
Kolon, based in Gyeonggi, South Korea, and the five officials were indicted in federal court in Richmond, Virginia. All were charged with one count of conspiracy to convert trade secrets, four counts of theft of trade secrets and one count of obstruction of justice. The indictment was filed Aug. 21 and unsealed today.
The criminal charges come about a year after a federal jury in Richmond awarded DuPont more than $919 million in damages after finding that Kolon and its U.S. unit wrongfully obtained DuPont’s proprietary information about Kevlar by hiring some of the company’s former engineers and marketers.
“Kolon sought to obtain trade secrets related to Kevlar and Twaron by hiring and attempting to hire former and current employees of Dupont, Dupont-Toray, and Teijin Twaron USA as‘consultants,’ and by asking these ‘consultants’ to reveal information that was confidential and proprietary,” according to the indictment.
DuPont, based in Wilmington, Delaware, spent more than $500 million to boost Kevlar production and meet rising demand for armor and lightweight materials that reduce energy use.
Cathy Andriadis, a DuPont spokeswoman, declined to immediately comment on the indictment when reached by phone.
The case is U.S. v. Kolon Industries, 12-cr-137, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Richmond).
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