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Following a significant win by Jenner & Block on behalf of client Duroc LLC after a lengthy jury trial in 2013, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed the complete defense victory in a per curiam opinion issued on May 26, 2016. The unsuccessful patent infringement suit brought by Deere & Company sought more than $100 million in damages, and the case was decided in Duroc’s favor by a federal jury in an Iowa courthouse less than eight miles from Deere’s global headquarters.
At issue at trial was Deere’s claim that Duroc infringed a Deere patent on rotary cutters that Deere considered revolutionary. The rotary cutters are used to clear farms and mow large fields and the sides of expressways. Until 2009, Duroc had sold the equipment under the name Bush Hog LLC. After an asset sale, Bush Hog, a subsidiary of the Alamo Group, continued to sell the equipment. Duroc, Bush Hog, Alamo and Great Plains Manufacturing were all defendants in the suit.
After a 14-day trial in the US District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, the jury found 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 the patent.
Partner and Litigation Department Chair Craig C. Martin argued the Federal Circuit appeal in October 2015.
Others on the appellate team included Partners David Jiménez-Ekman, Sara Tonnies Horton, Justin A. Maleson, Michael A. Scodro and Steven R. Trybus and Associates Jennifer T. Beach, Rachel C. Bell and Elin I. Park. Mr. Martin also had led the winning trial team, which included Mr. Jiménez-Ekman, Ms. Tonnies Horton and Mr. Trybus as well as Ms. Beach and Associates Benjamin T. Halbig and Christie L. Starzec.