An Iowa jury returned a verdict last month, on Oct. 30, finding that Kinze and Ag Leader had infringed on two out of three John Deere patents regarding True Speed/SureSpeed technology. The jury sided with Deere on four patent infringement claims. However, Deere did not prove the infringements were willful.
The lawsuit claimed that Kinze’s True Speed and Ag Leader’s SupreSpeed planting systems infringed on three of Deere’s U.S. patents: 9,861,031, 10,729,063, and 8,813,663. The third patent escaped infringement charges.
In a statement to Farm Equipment, Kinze told Farm Equipment, “While Kinze cannot comment on ongoing litigation, we can say that on Oct. 30, 2023, a jury in the Southern District of Iowa issued a verdict finding that the True Speed and SureSpeed systems infringe certain Deere & Co. patents. Kinze and Ag Leader strongly disagree with the verdict and intend to pursue their rights to challenge the jury’s verdict.”
Both companies were ordered to pay Deere for profits lost totaling $2,107,000 and royalties of $14,220,900 for infringement.
The patent infringement case was filed in Dec. 2020. At the time, Kinze and Ag Leader released a statement saying, “Kinze and Ag Leader deny all allegations of infringement. In a technology-based industry such as ours, these types of disputes are not uncommon. This legal action has absolutely no effect on the availability of current Kinze and Ag Leader products.”
Kinze and Ag Leader filed a countersuit in March 2021 in response to the original patent infringement suit. In the countersuit, Kinze listed Deere’s history of acquisitions and legal troubles, including a patent infringement lawsuit against AGCO in 2018.
In the suit, Kinze alleged that Deere uses “market power to exclude its competitors from the planter market and deprive farmers of choice” while also claiming that Deere intimidates its opponents.