A federal grand jury in Richmond, Va., has indicted a South Korean firm and five of its executives for allegedly conspiring to steal trade secrets from DuPont used in the manufacture of Kevlar.
The six-count indictment says the executives of Seoul-based Kolon Industries conspired with several unnamed DuPont employees — listed as unindicted co-conspirators — to steal secret manufacturing information about Kevlar, a major component of body armor, fiber optic cables, and automotive products, in hopes of developing a competing product marketed as Heracron.
According to the just-unsealed indictment, Kolon hired the current and former DuPont employees as "consultants, " who helped secretly record meetings and copy sensitive documents. Some of those employees later cooperated with U.S. authorities.
DuPont and Kolon have been battling for years over the materials. In August, a federal judge in a civil case granted DuPont's motion for a 20-year injunction barring Kolon from selling Heracron in the U.S., but the motion was stayed pending an appeal.
In 2011, a federal jury ordered Kolon to pay DuPont nearly $1 billion in damages for stealing 149 trade secrets from DuPont.