An Iowa jury awarded John Deere a total of $16.3 million in damages and royalties from Kinze Manufacturing and Ag Leader Technology on October 30, stating the two companies infringed on patents for seeding methods owned by Deere and Co. and its subsidiary, John Deere Shared Services, Inc.
The lawsuit claimed Kinze’s True Speed and Ag Leader’s SureSpeed high speed planting systems infringed on U.S. patents 9,861,031, 10,729,063, and 8,813,663. Kinze and Ag Leader directly and indirectly infringed on the first two, but not the third, according to the jury. The jury did not find that the infringements were willful.
The companies will pay Deere $2.1 million in lost profits and another $14.2 million in reasonable royalties.
“While Kinze cannot comment on ongoing litigation, we can say that on October 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,” says Jay Grimes, Kinze corporate counsel. “Kinze and Ag Leader strongly disagree with the verdict and intend to pursue their rights to challenge the jury’s verdict.”
Deere filed the initial lawsuit against Kinze and Ag Leader in 2020, and Kinze and Ag Leader filed a countersuit in 2021, seeking to invalidate the patents cited and claiming Deere uses its “market power to exclude its competitors from the planter market and deprive farmers of choice.”
High-speed planting technology
Kinze introduced the True Speed technology in 2020 for sale in 2021. According to their website, True Speed uses a high-speed meter and seed tube to provide accurate seed placement at up to 12 mph. The system was developed with support from Ag Leader Technology, which markets the system as SureSpeed. Both companies distributed the technology through their respective dealer networks.
SureSpeed is supported on a variety of planters, including Kinze 4000, Kinze 3000, John Deere Max Emerge 5, John Deere XP, John Deere XP Pro, John Deere Max Emerge Plus, John Deere Max Emerge 2, Case 1200, Harvest International, White 8000, and White 9000. True Speed is available on Kinze planter models 5900, 5700, 3665, 3605, 3205, 3145, and 3115.
Kinze did not answer questions on whether or not True Speed will still be available to farmers. Ag Leader could not be reached for comment. Representatives from John Deere declined to comment on this story.