HomeBody Armor MaterialsKolon Industries Admits Guilt in DuPont Kevlar Trade Secrets Case

Kolon Industries Admits Guilt in DuPont Kevlar Trade Secrets Case

Kolon Industries Inc has officially pleaded guilty to conspiring to steal trade secrets from DuPont Co, culminating a protracted dispute involving a fiber integral in the production of Kevlar bulletproof vests. This South Korean-based company has agreed to disburse $360 million as part of the settlement, comprising $275 million as restitution to DuPont and $85 million in criminal fines, according to U.S. prosecutors.

The guilty plea from Kolon pertains to a single count of conspiracy to misappropriate trade secrets. The plea was entered before U.S. District Judge Anthony Trenga in a federal court located in Alexandria, Virginia.

DuPont had alleged that Kolon illicitly obtained 149 trade secrets from the American chemical manufacturer, specifically concerning DuPont’s Kevlar para-aramid fiber. This high-strength fiber is widely used in the production of body armor, fiber-optic cables, and tires.

In response to these developments, DuPont announced that it had reached a settlement agreement with Kolon, which successfully resolves all ongoing litigation between the two entities. According to the company’s statement, the settlement encompasses various financial aspects, which include upfront and ongoing payments to DuPont. The precise terms and conditions of the agreement remain confidential.

Previously, in September 2011, DuPont had secured a $919.9 million jury verdict in a federal court in Virginia. However, this ruling was later overturned on appeal, prompting a retrial.

Subsequently, a separate criminal case was initiated in August 2012 by U.S. federal prosecutors. This case resulted in criminal charges against Kolon and five of its executives.

Kolon’s President and CEO, Dong Moon Park, expressed that the settlements allow the company to concentrate on its core business operations while simultaneously ensuring the implementation of necessary safeguards to prevent similar disputes in the future.

It is important to note that the case against the five Kolon executives remains ongoing, as none of these individuals have traveled to the United States to face the charges, as confirmed by the U.S. Justice Department.

DuPont initiated legal proceedings in February 2009, asserting that Michael Mitchell, a former DuPont employee with 24 years of service, had absconded with proprietary information related to Kevlar upon leaving the company in 2006 to establish his own fiber business. Subsequently, he shared this information with Kolon. An antitrust countersuit filed by Kolon in 2012 was ultimately dismissed.

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