An antitrust lawsuit intended to block a small-scale deal between agricultural giants John Deere and Monsanto is putting an Iowa manufacturer at risk of having to divulge its most tightly held business secrets to a competitor, according to court filings, writes Grant Rodgers on DesMoinesRegister.com.
Attorneys representing Kinze Manufacturing filed motions recently asking a federal judge to stop Deere from trying to access a wide variety of internal documents about the Williamsburg company’s planting equipment business, including marketing strategies, sales data, and research and development plans. Deere served the Iowa company a subpoena last month seeking the documents as part of an ongoing antitrust lawsuit the Obama administration filed to stop Deere from purchasing Precision Planting, a Monsanto subsidiary that manufactures precision-planting equipment.
The Monsanto subsidiary’s components can retrofit planters and offer farmers more control over factors like seed depth and spacing, increasing speed while maximizing accuracy. Kinze is not directly involved in the antitrust lawsuit, but the family-owned manufacturer has its own high-speed precision planter series that was unveiled in 2013.