After two years, Federal Court declares "no proof" in trade secret case
Farmobile, the independent farm data platform, today announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska (No. 8:16CV191) has granted summary judgment for Farmobile in a lawsuit filed against it by Farmers Edge (FEI). The court dismissed all claims filed against Farmobile ranging from misappropriation of trade secrets to a request that a judgment be entered declaring FEI to be the owner of Farmobile's Canadian patent and U.S. patent application.
The summary judgment is the result of an over two-year U.S. legal dispute about Farmobile's development and ownership of its innovative farm data-collection and standardization technologies.
The court found that Farmobile was entitled to a judgment as a matter of law as to each of FEI's 12 claims. After extensive discovery, including the production of hundreds of thousands of documents and deposition testimony of over 40 witnesses, U.S. District Judge Joseph Batallion granted Farmobile's summary judgment motion and denied all FEI's allegations.
"We welcome the court's decision. Truth won out and justice was served," said Jason Tatge, CEO of Farmobile. "Farmobile takes great pride in the development of its technology and respects the intellectual property rights of others. This judgment vindicates our strategy of innovation over litigation. The U.S. District Court of Nebraska could find no facts to back the claims made by Farmers Edge."
Farmers Edge had alleged that Farmobile co-founders Jason Tatge, Heath Gerlock and Randy Nuss, former employees of a company acquired by FEI, had misappropriated purportedly proprietary information. The court failed to find a basis for the alleged claims.
In his May 3, 2018 ruling, Judge Batallion found that "plaintiffs have failed to identify any use or disclosure of the alleged trade secrets." The court noted there was no proof that Farmobile co-founders were hired to "invent a specific device, system or method" which "eventually became the Farmobile ‘767 patent application."
Dismissing FEI's claims of ownership and patent rights, the Judge said: "The court finds FEI has not sustained its burden to show that it is entitled to the requested damages or equitable relief in the form of assignment of Farmobile's patent rights."
"On behalf of co-founders, Heath and Randy, I would like to thank the tireless efforts of our legal team and staff as well as the support of our customers, investors, channel partners and friends," said Tatge. "We never wanted this fight; we aim to work with everyone to strengthen the entire digital agricultural economy by making farmer-owned data standardized and interoperable. We look forward to continuing to execute and grow this important strategy."
Farmobile's counterclaims remain pending for trial, which presently is set to begin on May 21. The trial will likely be significantly shorter than originally expected as a result of this ruling.
Farmobile specializes in interoperable data. Its data collection and standardization technology enables farmers to collect, share and even monetize their farm data to improve efficiencies and increase farm revenues.
To learn more about Farmobile visit http://www.farmobile.com.
Farmobile is the independent farm data company. We build the foundational technology for the future of agriculture. We create new opportunities for farmers to get more out of their data.
Ag data didn't have a standard, so we built one. Our technology collects second-by-second data points across mixed fleets and turns them into Electronic Field Records (EFRs) that make it easy to gain insights, share with advisors, and power decision-making on the farm.
We believe data is among the most valuable commodities a farm produces. The Farmobile Data Store is the first and largest secure digital marketplace to connect farmers with data buyers. Farmobile believes that farmers own their data outright. We are proudly based in Leawood, Kansas, in the heart of the Midwest. To learn more about Farmobile and the Farmobile Data Store, please visit: http://www.farmobile.com.