US rules in favour of DuPont in Kevlar trade secrets case

A US court has banned Korean company Kolon from manufacturing and marketing its Heracron aramid fibre for 20 years following a long running battle with DuPont, which owns the iconic – and extremely lucrative – Kevlar brand. DuPont has repeatedly claimed that Kolon stole trade secrets relating to Kevlar and in September 2011, the company was awarded $920 million (£580 million) in damages. Kolon said at the time it was a victim of ‘a multiyear campaign … aimed at forcing Kolon out of the aramid fibre market’. Thomas Powell, president of DuPont protection technologies, said: ‘We are pleased that the judge has enforced the protection of our Kevlar trade secrets. The judge’s order sends a clear message to Kolon and others that they cannot benefit from the theft of our trade secrets.’ Kevlar – polyparaphenylene terephthalamide – was developed in the 1960s and first found commercial use as a replacement for steel in racing tyres. It is now used in bulletproof textiles, tyres and fibre optics because of its very high strength.