December 26, 2013

Jenner & Block won a complete defense victory for client Duroc LLC, formerly known as Bush Hog LLC, when an Iowa jury ruled that Duroc did not infringe Deere & Co.’s patent covering rotary cutters and that the patent was invalid.  At issue was Deere’s claim that Duroc infringed a patent for an “easy clean dual wall deck” for rotary cutters that are used to clear farms and mow large fields and the sides of expressways.  Duroc sold the Bush Hog brand of equipment until 2009; however, after an asset sale, Bush Hog, Inc., a subsidiary of the Alamo Group Inc., continued to sell the Bush Hog brand of equipment.  In addition to Duroc, Bush Hog and Alamo, Great Plains Manufacturing was also a defendant in the suit.  Deere sought in excess of $100 million in damages from the defendants for alleged willful infringement.

In 2011, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Wolle granted summary judgment to Duroc and the other defendants, finding they had not infringed and dismissing the suit.  In 2012, the Federal Circuit reversed that ruling and remanded the case to the lower court for further proceedings.  Prior to the trial, the district court entered summary judgment dismissing the claim that any infringement was willful.

On December 19, 2013, after a 14-day trial, an Iowa jury found by clear and convincing evidence that Deere's patent was invalid for three independent reasons: anticipation, obviousness and lack of adequate written description.  The jury also found that Deere had not proven by a preponderance of the evidence that the Bush Hog cutters infringed Deere's patent.  

The firm team representing Duroc was led by Partner Craig C. Martin and included Partners David Jiménez-Ekman, Sara Tonnies Horton, Steven R. Trybus and Matthew S. Hellman and Associates Jennifer T. Beach, Tiffany M. Cartwright, H. Ashley Chi, Benjamin T. Halbig, Shy Jackson, Christie L. Starzec and Christopher G. Wells.