The Department of Justice (USDOJ) in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has sentenced a former DuPont employee for his participation in the theft and transfer of trade secrets.
The American chemical company DuPont is known for the development of Kevlar which is the registered trademark for a synthetic fibre which is widely used for industrial, technological and military purposes.
The former employee who was responsible for technical research and development, worked for DuPont for 30 years before leaving in possession of confidential documents in 2000 and forwarding his career as a technical consultant for a South-Korean company named Kolon Industries. The ex-employee breached the non-disclosure agreement he had signed with DuPont by sharing trade secrets with Kolon Industries between 2006 and 2009. On the other hand, Kolon industries intended to develop a product similar to Kevlar and to achieve this, they targeted DuPont’s former employees in which they could drain confidential business intelligence. As a result, Kolon Industries managed to develop a product named Heracron by using stolen corporate intelligence from former employees.
This is not the first time DuPont suffers damages due to employees breaching their non-disclosure agreements and sharing trade secrets. In 2009 another employee was sentenced to a year and a half in prison after confessing to trade secrets theft.
The FBI announced the sentencing on the 17th of August this year, but did not disclose what the penalty would be. Kolon Industries was indicted on theft of trade secrets charges and were fined $360 million for their deceitful actions after having pleaded guilty to the charges.
The FBI also took the opportunity to express gratitude to DuPont for speeding up the investigation by expending countless hours interpreting and organising over a million of documents and technical concepts related to Kevlar. The whole experience has served as an opportunity for DuPont to enhance efforts to protect its intellectual property. The FBI has advised other American companies that haven’t yet done so to follow suit due to the substantial threat of U.S. business trade secrets being targeted for theft.