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Farmobile Granted Summary Judgement in Lawsuit Filed by Farmers Edge
Based in Leawood, Kansas, Farmobile was founded by Jason Tatge, Heath Gerlock, and Randy Nuss. The three men were former employees of Crop Ventures, a company acquired by Canada-based Farmers Edge.
The lawsuit, which was filed in May 2016, alleged that Tatge, Gerlock, and Nuss left the company and created Farmobile with proprietary technology and innovations belonging to Crop Ventures.
In a decision dated May 3, 2018, Judge Joseph Bataillon dismissed all 12 claims filed against Farmobile, which ranged from misappropriation of trade secrets to a request that a judgment be entered declaring Farmers Edge to be the owner of Farmobile’s Canadian patent and U.S. patent application.
According to court documents, “Farmers Edge failed to identify any use of disclosure of the alleged trade secrets.” Essentially, there was no intellectual property Tatge, Gerlock and Nuss could have misappropriated, notes the ruling.
The judge also stated that, “The court finds Farmers Edge has not sustained its burden to show that it is entitled to the requested damages of equitable relief in the form of assignment of Farmobile’s patent rights.”
“While we are, of course, happy to see this through, business for us continues as it always has,” says Tatge. “This case started almost two years ago, and since then we’ve exceeded company milestones and customer expectations. We’ve collected more point-by-point farm data than anyone else in the industry, and data buyers are knocking at our door every day. We are serving a market need and have no intention of slowing down.”
He goes on to say that, “This dispute has not caused us to waiver in our mission to deliver interoperable data. We continue to work with all of our farmers and channel partners to create the foundational technology to strengthen the entire agricultural economy. It is only through industry-wide collaboration and conversation that our founding belief – that farmers have a right to their data – will become a reality.”
Farmobile’s counterclaims are pending trial, which is scheduled to begin on May 21, 2018.
Farmers Edge believes there are grounds for an appeal. The company says it will proceed with further action once the counterclaims have been dispensed with.
“This is about much more than patents or money – this is about values,” says Wade Barnes, president and CEO of Farmers Edge. “My vision has always been to build an innovative company that develops tools to let growers experience the value of their farm data. We pour our hearts into every innovation we bring to market, and we plan to continue to defend our rights regarding intellectual property to protect what we’ve built.”