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A federal jury in Philadelphia has awarded a company more than $600,000 in damages based on claims that company trade secrets were sold to a Taiwanese institute. Santa Fe Science and Technology Inc., filed a lawsuit against professor Frank K. Ko and Drexel University, stating Ko took trade secrets developed by the company and sold them to the China Textile Institute for $80,000. Ko founded and is director of the Fibrous Materials Research Center at Drexel, a private university in Philadelphia. Santa Fe Science and Technology Inc., was awarded $522,759 in compensatory damages on Aug. 30 — $228,050 for past patents and $294,709 for future patents. The $602,759 judgment also includes $80,000 in damages against Drexel and Ko. Michael Allison, attorney for the company, says he also plans to ask the court for attorney fees, which amount to about $700,000. The secret? Panion — a plastic fiber that conducts electricity and has potential for use in clothing and in stealth technology for military aircraft. Ben Mattes, CEO and president of the company, said he and Ko worked together on the technology. He said he trusted Ko because of a confidentiality agreement among his company, Ko and Drexel. Allison argued that Ko violated the confidentiality agreement when he analyzed a piece of the fiber and sent some of it to the institute. Sam Silver, lawyer for Ko and Drexel, said he doesn’t believe Ko did anything wrong. He said he plans to file a motion asking the judge to set aside the judgment. He said he will appeal if that motion is rejected. “We’re obviously surprised and disappointed by the verdict,” he said. Allison said there is no evidence the institute has used the fiber, but he suspects the company used reverse-engineering techniques to learn how Mattes made the fiber. Allison and his partner, Charles Fisher, first filed the suit in New Mexico federal court in 2002. The case was transferred a year later. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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