A U.S. court has awarded a total of $920.3 million in damages to Wilmington, Delaware-based chemical giant DuPont after ruling that South Korea’s Kolon Industries Inc. had violated trade secrets relating to DuPont’s Kevlar aramid fiber, according to various media reports.
The trial judge in DuPont’s lawsuit against the South Korean fiber company on Tuesday ruled that Kolon’s actions called for punitive damages of $350,000, which is the maximum amount allowable by Virginia law, according to a DuPont statement issued to Bloomberg News.
That amount is on top of a previous verdict awarding damages of $919.9 million to DuPont, bringing the total to $920.3 million with post-judgement interest.
In September, DuPont announced it won $919.9 million in a civil lawsuit against Kolon after a jury in the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virgina, found that the South Korean company had stolen trade secrets and that its actions were “willful and malicious.”
DuPont said at the time that the size of the award was one of the largest in the defense of business process and technologies.
“It also sends a message to potential thieves of intellectual property that DuPont will pursue all legal remedies to protect our significant investment in research and development and our proprietary information,” said the Wilmington, Delaware-based chemical company in a statement.
Kolon responded to that verdict, saying it was a result of a campaign by DuPont to force the South Korean company out of the aramid fiber market, Bloomberg reported in September, citing an emailed statement from the company.
In that statement, Kolon denied it solicited trade secrets from DuPont, saying it “had no reason to believe that the consultants it engaged were providing such information” and that much of the secrets alleged was public knowledge.
Kolon plans to appeal the court’s decision, Reuters reported.
DuPont’s Kevlar-brand synthetic fiber is used in military and law enforcement applications such as bulletproof vests, as well as in commercial and industrial products including fiber optic cables, tires and spacesuits.
Following the news, Kolon shares fell after markets opened in Asia, down 11 percent to 62,000 Korean won ($54.45) in late morning trading, Korea Standard Time.
DuPont, meanwhile, closed 2.9 percent lower at $44.08 as Wall Street logged its sixth day of losses amid concerns over the eurozone debt crisis and weak Chinese factory data.