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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Deere & Co. filed suit Monday in U.S. District Court against two former employees for allegedly stealing trade secrets.

The lawsuit claims the husband and wife downloaded, transferred and removed confidential information while planning their exits in violation of their contracts.

The defendants are Seth Crawford and Adrian Crawford of Duluth, Ga.

The suit claims one defendant had started employment with Deere’s direct competitor. The lawsuit states Deere brought the suit to stop the defendant’s possession, disclosure and use of Deere’s confidential information.

The lawsuit says Deere’s attempts for an informal resolution were stalled by the defendants and a competitor employing one of them.

According to the suit, Seth Crawford has been employed at Deere since 1997, with his last position being director, global customer and product support. Adrian Crawford had been employed by Deere since 2008. At the conclusion of her career she held the position of manager, enterprise and analytics accelerator.

The suit alleges her position also allowed her access to trade secrets.

Deere spokesman Ken Golden said, “This legal action is in line with Deere & Co.’s commitment to our employees, shareholders, dealers and customers to always protect the company’s trade secrets and confidential information.

“Because this matter is in litigation, we will not comment on the specifics of the case. However, we believe the details described in the U.S. District Court complaint accurately support our reason for bringing legal action in this matter.”

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