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4th Circuit continues stay in trade secrets case

A Korean manufacturer can continue making its version of a high strength fiber used in bullet-proof vests and other armor under a federal appeals court ruling last week.

A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Kolon Industries can remain in the para-aramid fiber business while it appeals a $920-million judgment for stealing trade secrets from DuPont Co., which makes the competing Kevlar brand.

Kolon sought to put on hold what it termed a “staggeringly broad permanent injunction” shutting down Kolon’s para-aramid fiber business throughout the world for the next 20 years. The stay during a year-long appeal would have a “dramatic and irreversible” impact on the company, Kolon claimed.

DuPont argued Kolon should have let the district court decide the stay issue. DuPont said Judge Robert E. Payne was prepared to consider Kolon’s motion for a stay before Kolon obtained an administrative stay from the appeals court.

Taking up the issue on Friday, the appeals court panel split on whether to continue the stay during the appeal. Judges Dennis W. Shedd and Andre M. Davis voted to grant Kolon’s motion for a stay, with Judge Albert Diaz voting to deny the motion.

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