Korea's leading textile maker Kolon Industries Inc. expressed deep regret Friday over a U.S. indictment related to a long-running dispute with DuPont Co. over a high-strength synthetic fiber.
Kolon and five of its current and former employees were indicted by the U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy to steal trade secrets from the U.S. chemical giant on the production of Kevlar, an anti-ballistic body fiber.
The indictment was filed on Aug. 21 and unsealed on Thursday.
The Korean company claimed that it has conducted comprehensive research and development since 1979, when it joined hands with the Korea Institute of Science and Technology to develop aramid fibers used in aerospace and military applications such as Kevlar body armor.
"The indictment by the U.S. prosecutors greatly undermines our pride," Kolon said in a statement.
Kevlar, developed and first sold in 1973 by DuPont, is used in applications ranging from bicycle tires and racing yacht sails to anti-ballistic body armor.
In 2005, Kolon began commercially selling its version of the synthetic fiber, called Heracron.
Kolon also defended that it is not rare that companies like Kolon hire employees of their competitors as consultants, calling the practice "a part of corporate competition," not criminal activity.
"It's always unfortunate when companies like DuPont resort to trade secret litigation to attempt to block legitimate competition, particularly in an area of technology that is over four decades old," said Jeff Randal, a U.S. lawyer representing Kolon, according to Kolon. (Yonhap)