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Volume 86 Issue 46 | p. 11 | News of The Week
Issue Date: November 17, 2008

DuPont, Invista Tangle Again

Firms are suing each other over nylon-related trade secrets
Department: Business

DuPont and Invista filed separate lawsuits within a week, each alleging that the other violated nylon-related trade secrets and seeking unspecified monetary damages.

On Nov. 6, Invista refiled a complaint in U.S. Federal Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that DuPont conspired with Rhodia to steal Invista's Gen 1 technology to make the nylon 6,6 intermediate adiponitrile at a plant to be built in Asia by 2012. DuPont now buys adiponitrile at below-market prices from Invista to make nylon engineering resins, but Invista alleges DuPont is aiding Rhodia to assure itself of an advantage in obtaining supplies of the raw material when the Invista contract expires after 2012.

The complaint drops Rhodia as a defendant because the court ruled last month that it did not have jurisdiction over the French firm's activities (C&EN, Nov. 10, page 24). However, Invista hasn't dropped the matter and late last week filed suit against Rhodia in a Delaware state court.

On Nov. 10, DuPont filed a separate complaint in the same court alleging that Invista violated an agreement barring it from competing against DuPont in nylon resins until May 2009 and from using patented DuPont engineering resin technology until 2012. "We must protect our investment in this valuable technology," says Thomas L. Sager, DuPont's general counsel.

Invista has tangled before with DuPont over its 2004 purchase of DuPont's fibers business for $4.2 billion. In March, Invista filed a suit in New York City alleging that the 14 plants it acquired from DuPont didn't comply with safety and environmental laws. Invista is seeking $800 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages in the still ongoing case.

An Invista spokeswoman says, "DuPont consistently attempts to dodge its obligations."

 
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