Court Rules in Favor of Farmers Edge on Counterclaim Filed by Farmobile (UPDATED)
The United States District Court for the District of Nebraska (No. 8:16CV191) ruled in favor of Farmers Edge on a counterclaim filed by Farmobile under the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA), writes Farmers Edge in a recent press release.
The Court made the ruling after a trial involving key witnesses from both Farmers Edge and Farmobile. Among the evidence reviewed was the fact that Farmobile’s founders filed patent applications and founded Farmobile merely a few weeks after they left Crop Ventures, and that the patent applications were similar to work done at Crop Ventures.
The Court found that “the factual backdrop that led to this lawsuit” and “the close temporal connection between the individual defendants’ departure from Crop Ventures and their design and development of a competing product at least suggests trade secret misappropriation.” Based on a detailed review of the evidence, the Court found that Farmers Edge acted in good faith in bringing a claim against Farmobile and its founders under the DTSA. Farmers Edge believes that the legal and factual support discussed in the opinion should pave the way for a successful outcome in this case.
In the summary judgment granted to Farmobile earlier this year, the Court focused on Farmobile’s admission that it abandoned its United States patent application because of prior art. The recent ruling in favor of Farmers Edge stated, “this Court’s finding that the allegedly misappropriated information was not secret and was known in the industry will undoubtedly be challenged and could well be reversed.”
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“We’re pleased with the Court’s order to dismiss Farmobile’s claim. Getting to the truth is not always simple, but Farmers Edge stands for what is right,” said Farmers Edge CEO Wade Barnes. “From the beginning, we were confident the Court would recognize that the credibility of our testimonies was consistent with the evidence and relevant facts of the case. Our team at Farmers Edge works tirelessly to drive the advancement of digital agriculture, and this ruling is an integral step to protect our rights on intellectual property. We will continue to defend the innovations we’ve built to help growers and agricultural professionals worldwide. Our legacy will be rooted in honesty.”
We reached out to Farmobile for comment. Although Jason Tatge and all other Farmobile representatives declined further comment due to this being an ongoing legal proceeding, Joan Archer, General Counsel, Farmobile, issued this statement: “The most recent ruling does not alter the Court’s prior decision granting Summary Judgment in Farmobile’s favor. The Court’s most recent ruling only relates to Farmobile’s counterclaim under the Defend Trade Secrets Act alleging that Farmers Edge acted in bad faith such that Farmobile should be awarded its attorneys’ fees related to the case.”
EDITOR’S NOTE (8/27/18)
Husch Blackwell, the law firm that rep’d Farmobile in the Farmers Edge lawsuit and counterclaim, has issued a press release seeking to clarify all that has transpired in the case.