Korean fibre business Kolon Industries has hit back against charges brought by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over the alleged stealing of trade secrets from DuPont.

The company said it took the allegations “very seriously” and would defend itself “vigorously” against the charges, which centre on DuPont’s and Teijin’s aramid fibre products.

Last month Kolon was handed a 20-year ban on making and selling its Heracron aramid fibre, following a US$920m damages award a year earlier and a three-year legal battle.

But the company said the DOJ charges “unfairly damaged” its reputation as a company that respects intellectual property rights and which had spent 30 years developing its own aramid fibre product.

“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 four decades old,” said Jeff Randall of Paul Hastings LLP, counsel for Kolon.

The company said it looked forward to a fair trial, adding that it was confident that it would be vindicated and that it would resolve its civil dispute with DuPont through the appellate process.