Deere is Suing AGCO Corp. Over Precision Agriculture Gadgets

Bloomberg writers Lydia Mulvany, Susan Decker, and Christopher Yasiejko reported yesterday that, “An obscure-sounding legal battle between two of the biggest farm-machinery makers is highlighting a race to automate farm work.

Deere & Co., the world’s biggest tractor maker, is suing rival AGCO Corp. over gadgets like seed meters and hoppers that attach to planting machines. Such devices are integral to a projected $240 billion market for so-called precision agriculture, which harnesses big data to automate operations and boost productivity.

“Companies are ‘moving fast’ with precision technology, transforming the industry, said Karen Ubelhart, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. ‘This is a big deal, and they’re all spending a lot of money on it.'”

The Bloomberg writers explained that, “In its patent-infringement complaints, filed June 1 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware, Deere said the combination of AGCO unit Precision Planting’s vSet seed meters and SpeedTube seed-delivery system infringes 12 patents related to Deere’s ExactEmerge, which allows farmers more accurate seed placement and spacing while planting at higher speeds. Deere is seeking court orders blocking further infringement and to collect cash compensation.

“AGCO, the No. 3 tractor-maker, bought the company that makes these components, Precision Planting LLC, from Monsanto Co. last year — a few months after Deere’s $190 million bid for the business was blocked by the Department of Justice.

“AGCO said in a statement that Deere’s claims ‘are believed to be without merit and will be vigorously disputed.'”

Yesterday’s article added that, “The sting for Deere is that Precision’s components can be attached to older planters of any brand, and the number of retrofits the company sold last year was about equal to new planters the entire industry sold.”

This entry was posted in Agriculture Law, Start-up Company Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.