S. Korean Firm Indicted in Trade-Secrets Case; Kevlar Body Armor Allegedly Copied
Byline: Jerry Seper, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A federal grand jury has indicted a South Korean company and five of its executives on charges they conspired to steal from two other firms trade secrets about Kevlar, a high-strength fiber used in body armor for law enforcement and military personnel.
The indictment of Kolon Industries Inc. and its executives, handed up Thursday in U.S. District Court in Richmond, seeks forfeiture of at least $225 million in proceeds from the alleged theft of trade secrets from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) in Wilmington, Del., and Teijin Limited, one of the largest chemical companies in Japan.
U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride in Virginia said Kolon is accused of engaging in a massive industrial espionage campaign that allowed it to bring a new high-strength fiber, Heracron, to the market and compete directly with Kevlar.
This indictment should send a strong message to companies located in the United States and around the world that industrial espionage is not a business strategy, Mr. MacBride said.
Kolon recently introduced Heracron into the para-aramid-fiber market as a competitor to Kevlar and Twaron. The fibers are used to make body armor, fiber-optic cables and automotive and industrial products.
Seoul-based Kolon was charged with one count of conspiring to convert trade secrets, four counts of theft of trade secrets and one count of obstruction of justice.
The indictment said that from 2002 through 2009, Kolon sought to improve its Heracron product by hiring current and former employees at DuPont and Teijin as consultants, then asking them to reveal information that was confidential and proprietary. …