A class action lawsuit filed in Chicago has accused John Deere of running an illegal repair monopoly. The lawsuit alleged that John Deere has used software locks and restricted access to repair documentation and tools, making it very difficult for farmers to fix their own agricultural equipment, a problem that Motherboard has documented for years and that lawmakers, the FTC, and even the Biden administration have acknowledged.
“Farmers have traditionally had the ability to repair and maintain their own tractors as needed, or else have had the option to bring their tractors to an independent mechanic,” the lawsuit said. “However, in newer generations of its agricultural equipment, Deere has deliberately monopolized the market for repair and maintenance services of its agricultural equipment with Engine Control Units (ECUs) by making crucial software and repair tools inaccessible to farmers and independent repair shops.”
The lawsuit claims John Deere is violating antitrust rules and also alleges that Deere is illegally “tying” farmers to Deere-authorized service centers through arbitrary means.