This week the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska has ruled in favor of Farmers Edge on a counterclaim filed by Farmobile under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA).
The Court made the ruling after a trial involving key witnesses from both Farmers Edge and Farmobile. Among the evidence reviewed was the fact that Farmobile’s founders filed patent applications and founded Farmobile merely a few weeks after they left Crop Ventures, and that the patent applications were similar to work done at Crop Ventures.
The Court found that “the factual backdrop that led to this lawsuit” and “the close temporal connection between the individual defendants’ departure from Crop Ventures and their design and development of a competing product at least suggests trade secret misappropriation.” Based on a detailed review of the evidence, the Court found that Farmers Edge acted in good faith in bringing a claim against Farmobile and its founders under the DTSA. Farmers Edge believes that the legal and factual support discussed in the opinion should pave the way for a successful outcome in this case.
In the summary judgment granted to Farmobile earlier this year, the Court focused on Farmobile’s admission that it abandoned its United States patent application because of prior art. The recent ruling in favor of Farmers Edge stated, “this Court’s finding that the allegedly misappropriated information was not secret and was known in the industry will undoubtedly be challenged and could well be reversed.”
“We’re pleased with the Court’s order to dismiss Farmobile’s claim. Getting to the truth is not always simple, but Farmers Edge stands for what is right,” said Farmers Edge CEO Wade Barnes. “From the beginning, we were confident the Court would recognize that the credibility of our testimonies was consistent with the evidence and relevant facts of the case. Our team at Farmers Edge works tirelessly to drive the advancement of digital agriculture, and this ruling is an integral step to protect our rights on intellectual property. We will continue to defend the innovations we’ve built to help growers and agricultural professionals worldwide. Our legacy will be rooted in honesty.”
Following the summary judgment ruling, the parties have since settled the remaining individual counterclaims asserted by Jason Tatge, Heath Gerlock, and Clarke Gerlock against Farmers Edge. Although the Court denied Farmobile’s request for recovery of attorneys’ fees in a separate ruling, the Court reiterated its prior findings in favor of Farmobile in its decision.