Machinery Chatter

Deere, AGCO Battle Over Seed Placement Technology

Dan Miller
By  Dan Miller , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
John Deere's ExactEmerge planting technology is at the center of its patent infringement lawsuit against Precision Planting and AGCO. (John Deere photo)

The legal action Deere and Company filed earlier this month against Precision Planting LLC and AGCO Corporation boils down to seeds -- specifically, to seed placement and planting speed technologies.

Deere filed suit in United States District Court in Delaware (where Moline, Illinois-based Deere is incorporated), contending that it has -- and is -- suffering unspecified damages from a pair of Precision Planting products. Deere says Precision Planting products tread on a dozen of its patents relating to its planters.

Find a copy of the lawsuit here: http://www.dtn.com/…

The patents "describe several of the unique and inventive aspects of Deere's planter row units, many of which are embodied in the state-of-the-art ExactEmerge

Technology," the suit charges. Deere introduced its ExactEmerge planter in 2014. It enables farmers to plant at speeds of 10 miles per hour, or more.

"The inventions protected by Deere's patents allow farmers to achieve accurate seed placement, uniform seed spacing, and even crop emergence while planting at higher speeds than had been possible in the past," Ken Golden, Deere's director of Global Public Relations, stated in a press release. "The technology reduces planting time, minimizes waste, and improves production yields, thereby helping the grower to improve profit margins."

Deere pointed out that it has not licensed or authorized use of its patents by Precision Planting or AGCO.

The suit turns on Precision Planting's vSet meters and its SpeedTube products. vSet features a flat disk with a single vac setting. It releases seeds down the center of the tube, an action critical to optimum spacing, Precision Planting explained in on-line promotional material. The SpeedTube enables accurate seed spacing at any speed, another Precision Planting promotional guide explained.

Deere contends that the patent infringements begin the moment Precision Plantings two products are brought together. "vSet Products are specifically configured to work in combination with [Precision Planting's] SpeedTube product," Deere's suit claimed. "When one of Defendant's vSet Products is combined with Defendant's SpeedTube product, the combination infringes Deere's patents."

AGCO rejects Deere's claims and noted that both it and Monsanto are cooperating in defense of the lawsuit. AGCO purchased Precision Planting from The Climate Corporation, a subsidiary of Monsanto Company last September.

"AGCO Corporation is aware of claims by Deere related to Precision Planting patents. In fact, the parties began discussing related claims in 2017 when Precision Planting was in the ownership of Monsanto," said Kelli Cook, manager of Public Relations, AGCO North America. "Any claim that alleges products made or sold by Precision Planting infringe on Deere patents are believed to be without merit and will be vigorously disputed."

Precision Planting is located in Tremont, Illinois.

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If you have a machinery or technology idea, please call Dan at 205-414-4736 or send an email.

Dan Miller can be reached at dan.miller@dtn.com

Follow him on Twitter @DMillerPF

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Dan Miller