Friday, November 14, 2008, 11/14/2008 02:19:00 PM

Invista Sues DuPont, Rhodia in Delaware Chancery Court for Trade Secrets Theft

By Todd
Koch Industries Inc.'s Invista unit sued French chemicals maker Rhodia SA in Delaware state court for theft and misappropriation of a chemical process technology used to make a type of resin.

The suit comes two weeks after a federal judge tossed a case filed in New York against Rhodia and DuPont Co. We blogged that dismissal here: An amended complaint was filed a week ago in federal court against DuPont, focusing on misappropriation of intellectual property, unfair competition and breach of contracts.

The suits are seeking damages and a barring of the companies' alleged misconduct.

On Tuesday, DuPont filed a federal patent-infringement lawsuit against Invista, contending Invista is breaching a patent deal related to nylon engineering resins. Invista argues it is abiding by a five-year noncompete deal in the engineering polymers space that expires in the spring.

Regarding the suits it has filed, Invista says it bought the technology in question to make a critical chemical in the creation of the resins. It was part of Invista's $4.2 billion purchase of DuPont's fibers business in 2004, and Invista alleges Rhodia is using trade secrets to build a plant in Asia using that technology. DuPont has said it is an investor in the effort.

The 2004 deal is also subject to a lawsuit, as Invista claimed in a March filing that plants it acquired had serious safety deficiencies that needed fixing. DuPont has sought to have the federal case dismissed, saying the sale agreement was in fact violated by Invista and that DuPont is protected from the legal claims raised by Invista.

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