New legal action is heightening tensions between two of the nation’s leading agricultural machinery companies: Deere & Company and Kinze Manufacturing. In a press release sent out Monday morning, implement maker Kinze and precision-farming company Ag Leader said that they were notified late last week that John Deere has “filed a lawsuit alleging patent infringement related to True Speed/SureSpeed technology.”
The statement released by Kinze’s PR agency said that “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.”
True Speed planting technology is being made available on some high-end 2021 Kinze planters and is a generational leap for the manufacturer. True Speed technology won’t vary seed spacing or sacrifice other levels of performance at up to 12 mph during planting, and the technology aids scalability, meaning growers don’t have to go from a 12-row to a 16-row or to a 24-row planter to handle an expanding operation.
Last month, Kinze even received the prestigious AE50 award for True Speed technology, an award given by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) to recognize top innovative products each year based on significant engineering advancement and impact for the markets they serve.
John Deere’s communications agency said that it is Deere’s company policy not to comment on pending litigation.
The lawsuit filed on Friday comes about two months after Kinze made public another point of contention between the two companies: In early October, Kinze posted to Twitter a cease-and-desist letter in which Deere seemingly accused Kinze of wrongful and uneven comparison between Deere’s ExactEmerge planter and Kinze’s 4905 planter. The allegations were made because of a video that Kinze showcased and said independently depicted the two planters in a head-to-head comparison.
A day after Kinze posted Deere’s cease-and-desist letter, it also posted a detailed rebuttal of Deere’s allegations. Ultimately, Susanne Veatch, Kinze’s president and chief marketing officer, that said that Kinze would not deactivate the video link, instead standing by the claims that were made.
This article will be updated as more details about the lawsuit are revealed.