DuPont dismisses trade secrets suit against former chemist

David Yates Feb. 24, 2012, 6:15am


Asserting that they have reached an understanding, E.I. DuPont De Nemours and a former chemist recently filed an agreed motion to dismiss a trade secrets suit.

Last February, DuPont filed suit against one of its former employees, Wenjing Zhou, alleging he may have revealed the company's top secrets when he suddenly left his position to accept a job with a competing company.

Court records show that on Nov. 15 the parties filed an agreed motion for dismissal, stating that they "have reached an understanding which renders pursuit of this suit unnecessary."

Two weeks later, Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, granted the motion on Nov. 30, dismissing the case with prejudice.

DuPont filed the suit fearing its exclusive, confidential formula for the coating used on TransCanada's pipelines would be used by its competitor, court papers say.

"Only DuPont's specially-formulated powder coatings meet the specifications required by TransCanada at specific plant locations to achieve the desired results for pipe powder coatings applications manufactured by Cantak and sold to TransCanada," the suit states. "The modification is a trade secret that is not disclosed to third parties and is intended to provide DuPont with a competitive advantage."

After Zhou resigned, DuPont learned that he left to work for competitor KCC Corp., which is in the business of developing powder coatings, the suit states.

On Jan. 19, 2011, KCC informed DuPont that it had independently terminated Zhou, the complaint says.

"Any dissemination by Zhou of DuPont's proprietary information and trade secrets to KCC or another has already created, and will continue to create, an unfair and ill-gotten competitive advantage in the powder coatings industry that will result in a sustained loss of revenue to DuPont, as well as the loss of the value of this business segment within the DuPont family of businesses," the suit states.

DuPont was asking the court to require Zhou to disgorge any records containing proprietary information, to order Zhou to maintain all e-mail and computers used by him since Jan. 1, 2010, and to permanently implement the temporary injunction orders.

DuPont was represented by M.C. Carrington and Elizabeth B. Pratt of Mehaffyweber in Beaumont.

Houston attorney Ashton Bachynsky of Carter Bachynsky represented Zhou.

Case No. E189-470

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