The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Farmobile in a long-simmering case that stemmed from a lawsuit initiated by Farmers Edge. In the suit, first brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska, Farmers Edge accused Farmobile of breach of explicit or implicit contract, breach of duty of loyalty, and misappropriated trade secrets.
The two companies were in a patent dispute over which owned the right to a technology that gathers data from farm machinery. The targets of the lawsuit included Farmobile’s founders: Jason Tatge, Heath Gerlock, and Randy Nuss. These three men filed patent applications and founded Farmobile just a few weeks after they left Crop Ventures, a company that was acquired by Farmers Edge in 2014. Farmers Edge believed that the patent applications were too similar to work they had done at Crop Ventures.
“It goes without saying that Heath, Randy, and everyone who works at Farmobile is elated,” Tatge said in a press release after the appeals court ruling. “This has been a long, hard-fought battle, but we always knew we were in the right. The U.S. justice system worked, it just took us a bit longer than anticipated to reach this final result. We are thankful to our legal team for their persistence.”
Based in Kansas, Farmobile enables farmers and channel partners to collect, share and monetize data. Canadian-based Farmers Edge is a global leader in digital agriculture powered by a combination of field-centric data, artificial intelligence, and complete integration. Their dispute dates as far back as 2016.
According to the press release sent out by Farmobile, this appeals court action concludes Farmers Edge’s claims against Farmobile in the United States. Additionally, Farmobile continues to enforce its patent in a lawsuit filed against Farmers Edge in the Federal Court of Canada. In it, Farmobile seeks over $20 million CAD in damages and an injunction prohibiting Farmers Edge from using certain technologies. That case is set for trial beginning on April 19, 2021 in Vancouver, B.C.