Deere, Kinze, Ag Leader Collaboration

Deere, Kinze, Ag Leader Announce Collaboration Deal, Resolve ExactEmerge Dispute

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
The John Deere, Kinze and Ag Leader collaboration gives farmers operating Kinze and Ag Leader planting and display products the option to integrate data into the John Deere Operations Center. (DTN image courtesy of John Deere)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (DTN) -- John Deere, Kinze Manufacturing, and Ag Leader Technology announced Tuesday a collaboration agreement that will make it easier for farmers to integrate each company's equipment and technology solutions into their farming operation.

The agreement finally resolves a years-long legal dispute between the three agricultural manufacturers and marks a new era of technology cooperation among the three.

The dispute goes back to 2020 when Deere claimed in a lawsuit that Kinze and Ag Leader infringed upon patents key to its ExactEmerge high speed planter first launched in 2014. In the suit, Deere pointed specifically to Kinze's True Speed planter technology and Ag Leader's SureSpeed planting system.

Kinze, based in Williamsburg, Iowa, and Ag Leader, based in Ames, Iowa, countersued in 2021, claiming Deere's patents were not valid.

But late last year an Iowa jury found in favor of Deere, its verdict concluding that Kinze and Ag Leader infringed on two Deere patents -- although the jury decided the infringements were not willful. The jury awarded Deere $16.3 million in damages and royalties.

The collaboration announced Tuesday enables farmers to combine equipment and digital solutions offered by John Deere, Kinze, and Ag Leader. As part of the agreement, farmers operating Kinze and Ag Leader planting and display products will now have the option to seamlessly integrate their agronomic data into the John Deere Operations Center.

The companies have also agreed to resolve all outstanding litigation through an arrangement where John Deere will license planting technology to Kinze and Ag Leader, ensuring their customers continue to have access to the True Speed and SureSpeed technologies.

Deere and Kinze also announced plans to explore further technology collaborations. Details are to be shared when they are available.

"At John Deere, we're proud of the equipment and technology solutions we develop for farmers, but we also know our customers have choices when they make equipment purchase decisions," said Aaron Wetzel, vice president of Production & Precision Agriculture Production Systems in a news release. "We put our customers first with this agreement, which will result in a more seamless integration of Kinze planting solutions with John Deere equipment and our technology stack. We remain committed to helping all of our customers, including those with mixed fleets, be more productive, profitable, and sustainable in their operations."

Kinze President Susanne Veatch said in the same release, "We are excited to have True Speed back on the market. A key component of technologies like True Speed is the creation and collection of data. This agreement will benefit our joint farmer customers who utilize John Deere Operations Center by ensuring they can seamlessly integrate their data generated by any Blue Vantage controlled equipment." Kinze had no comment beyond its initial statement.

"Ag Leader is excited SureSpeed is available to our customers again. Our focus has always been to provide tangible solutions to the market through quality precision products that fit the mixed fleet grower. Being able to connect with other platforms like John Deere Operations Center through AgFiniti gives our growers the ability to seamlessly map and analyze data in one place regardless of equipment color. This agreement allows us to take another step toward better serving our customers' growing needs," said Al Myers, president of Ag Leader in the release.

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Dan Miller