The American Lawyer has recognized the massive trade secrets
settlement in favor of McGuireWoods client E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. against
Kolon Industries as one of the world’s most distinguished dispute resolutions
for 2015 in its annual Global Legal Awards.
South Korea-based Kolon pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges and paid
$360 million in penalties and restitution in April for stealing trade secrets
related to DuPont’s Kevlar™ bulletproofing material, ending six years of
litigation. McGuireWoods partner Brian Riopelle led DuPont’s legal team.
“This recognition by The American Lawyer is a very satisfying tribute to
years of hard work by many incredible lawyers determined to ensure that justice
was done for DuPont,” said Riopelle, chairman of McGuireWoods' Intellectual
Property Litigation/Patents Department.
Fellow Richmond partner Rod Satterwhite was also heavily involved in the
long-running litigation. Others who played significant roles for McGuireWoods
were counsels Thomas Beshere and Kristen Calleja, associate Derek Swanson and
senior paralegal Nancy von Bargen, all of Richmond.
The blockbuster settlement of the long-running cross-border case marked the
second in as many years that a deal or dispute involving McGuireWoods was
recognized by The American Lawyer’s Global Legal Awards, one of the industry's
most prestigious awards. Last year, the purchase of client Smithfield Foods by
Shanghui International Holdings Ltd. – the largest buyout ever of an American
company by a Chinese firm – was recognized as the Global Merger & Acquisition
Deal of the Year: China Outbound. McGuireWoods was one of four firms involved in
the sale, playing a key role by reassuring restive members of Congress who had
voiced concerns about the overseas sale of the largest U.S. pork producer.
The DuPont case is historically significant because it marked the first time
that a foreign corporation with no direct presence in the United States was
successfully served with a U.S. criminal process over the company’s objections
based on an international treaty.
Federal prosecutors alleged that from 2006 until February 2009, Kolon
conspired with former DuPont employees and others to steal DuPont’s secrets for
Kevlar, a high-strength synthetic fiber used in body armor and other commercial
applications. Kolon admitted that it was attempting to improve the quality of
its competing product, Heracron.
Riopelle and his McGuireWoods team sued Kolon in U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Virginia in February 2009, alleging trade secrets theft.
During discovery, the court determined that Kolon personnel had deliberately
deleted certain evidence.
Others to be recognized with DuPont and McGuireWoods at the Sept. 28 Global
Legal Awards Dinner and Awards Presentation include Crowell & Moring and Kim &
Chang. The awards celebrate all who contributed – corporations, firms,
individuals – in a wide range of disciplines to the cross-border deals or
disputes from Jan. 1, 2014, through mid-April 2015. Judges chose 30 honorees
honorees from more than 300 entries representing virtually all of the world’s
major law firms. That doesn’t include grand prize winners who will be announced
at the September awards gala.
For media coverage of the settlement, please click here.