DuPont v. Kolon
On April 3, 2014, the Fourth Circuit unanimously ruled in favor of Bancroft client Kolon Industries in E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon Industries, Inc., 564 F. App’x 710 (4th Cir. 2014). Kolon is a South Korean corporation with decades of experience producing synthetic fibers. One of Kolon’s products, known as “Heracron,” is a high-strength fiber that competes against DuPont’s “Kevlar” fiber. In this case, DuPont alleged that Kolon misappropriated trade secrets regarding the Kevlar manufacturing process and used those trade secrets to improve its Heracron manufacturing and marketing operations. At trial, DuPont obtained a $919 million jury verdict, as well as a permanent injunction shutting down Kolon’s Heracron business for the next 20 years. But the Fourth Circuit vacated that verdict and ordered a new trial because the district court had improperly excluded critical evidence showing that the claimed “trade secrets” actually involved publicly available information. Paul D. Clement argued the case before the Fourth Circuit and Jeffrey M. Harris assisted with the briefing.