* Kolon seeks to halt permanent injunction during appeal
* Judge: $919.9 mln jury award inadequate remedy for DuPont
* Kevlar, rival fibers used in body armor
By Jonathan Stempel
Aug 31 DuPont Co, the inventor of Kevlar
used in bulletproof vests and other body armor, won a federal
court order barring South Korea's Kolon Industries Inc
from making a competing version of the synthetic
fiber for 20 years.
Kolon on Friday asked U.S. District Judge Robert Payne in
Richmond, Virginia, to put his permanent injunction on hold
while it appeals, saying a ban would cause the "uncompensated
death" of an entire business and result in irreparable harm.
Shares of Kolon closed Friday down 2.4 percent in Seoul, the
first trading day after the injunction was issued.
Last Sept. 14, a Richmond federal jury ordered Kolon to pay
DuPont $919.9 million of damages for stealing trade secrets
relating to Kevlar, a high-strength para-aramid fiber used in
body armor, military helmets, tires and fiber-optic cables.
DuPont had sued Kolon in February 2009, accusing it of
misusing proprietary information obtained from Michael Mitchell,
a 24-year DuPont veteran who left the company in 2006 to start
his own fiber business and later began working with Kolon.
Mitchell in 2010 pleaded guilty to theft of trade secrets
and served most of an 18-month prison term, court and prison
In issuing the 20-year ban on activity related to
para-aramid fibers, Payne called Kolon's use of stolen trade
secrets "integral and essential" to its production of Heracron,
a rival to Kevlar and Twaron, made by Japan's Teijin Ltd
He also said the $919.9 million judgment alone was not an
adequate remedy, explaining that Kolon would still be free to
use the stolen trade secrets at DuPont's expense, and that
DuPont might have to go to South Korea to enforce the judgment.
DuPont began selling Kevlar in 1965.
"That Kolon found it necessary as a matter of corporate
policy to misappropriate DuPont's trade secrets to augment the
knowledge and efforts of its own research staff illustrates
that, left to its own devices, Kolon simply would not have
developed the trade secrets it misappropriated," Payne wrote.
The injunction, he added, could significantly reduce harm to
DuPont without any harm to Kolon, "except that which it brought
upon itself and which, by right, it should suffer."
In its request for a stay, Kolon said it is likely to win an
appeal, citing alleged errors at trial, weaknesses in DuPont's
case, and a lack of evidence that Kolon's activities caused
DuPont to lose sales or profit.
DuPont sells more than 70 percent of para-aramid fibers
purchased in the United States, court papers show.
The company's safety and protection operations, which
include Kevlar and Nomex, a flame-resistant fiber used by
firefighters, had $1.93 billion of sales from January to June, 9
percent of DuPont's $22.24 billion of total sales.
The Wilmington, Delaware-based company also makes products
used in the chemical, agriculture and biotechnology industries.
DuPont shares rose 45 cents to $50.03 in morning trading on
the New York Stock Exchange.
The case is DuPont v. Kolon Industries Inc et al, U.S.
District Court, Eastern District of Virginia, No. 09-00058.