Valmont’s root demand irrigation (RDI) technology has been shelved. Sales and production of RDI ended on Nov. 12. RDI used underground tubing technology developed by DuPont.
“Effective Nov. 12, 2015, Valmont announced its decision to suspend commercial sales of its root demand irrigation product and all corresponding investments including marketing, manufacturing, R&D facilities and other related activities,” says Gregg Schmidt, DuPont spokesman.
Developmental Technologies LLC (DTL) filed suit against Valmont and DuPont in 2015, alleging “unauthorized removal and misappropriation of DTL’s proprietary, confidential and trade secret information.” Florida-based DTL claims RDI is based on trade secrets taken directly from its Eco-Ag irrigation processes and research.
In 2009, DTL invited dozens of companies, including DuPont and Valmont, to review Eco-Ag’s potential. According to the complaint, all parties signed non-disclosure and non-use agreements with DTL. Those agreements run through 2016 for Valmont and 2019 for DuPont.
“Our case is still in place with the original complaints we lodged against Valmont and Dupont. We’re still looking forward to trial in late 2016,” says Dave Conklin, executive vice president, DTL.
DTL’s complaint includes: misappropriation of trade; misappropriation of ideas; unfair trade practices; breach of contract; and unfair competition.
“By Valmont and DuPont removing their system from the marketplace, they have poisoned the well for our market space. With regard to the lawsuit, we intend to proceed directly to trial following mediation efforts,” says DTL owner Michael Gould. “We want the entire world to know what happened here, and the only way for that to occur is to go to jury trial. There is no doubt in our mind that we will prevail in this lawsuit.”
For customers who have purchased the RDI product, Valmont will work with dealers to ensure customer satisfaction, according to Schmidt. “DuPont and Valmont are working together to manage the exit of Valmont’s collaboration in this development program.”