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John Deere Equipment with ECUs Monopoly on Repairs Class Action

This antitrust class action claims to be brought on behalf of those who bought repair services for John Deere equipment that contained engine control units (ECUs). It alleges that Deere and Co. has formed a monopoly on such services with affiliated dealership and technicians for the repair of Deere tractors, combines, and other heavy equipment, through the withholding of proprietary software and associated repair tools that are needed for regular and more difficult repair work.

The class for this action is all persons and entities in the US who, between January 12, 2018 and the present, bought Deere repair services for Deere tractors from Deere or its authorized dealers or technicians.

The case concerns the market for repairs of Deere heavy equipment, collectively called “tractors” in the complaint. The complaint alleges, “Tractor owners have traditionally had the ability to repair their own Deere Tractors as needed, or else have had the option to bring their Deere Tractor to an independent mechanic. However, in newer generations of its Tractors that contain ECU Software,” self-repair is no longer possible.

Instead, the complaint alleges, Deere has created a repair monopoly by keeping ECU software and related tools out of the hands of owners and independent mechanics. Even if such third parties have the mechanical parts, knowledge, and skill to make repairs, the complaint claims, they cannot do so without the proper software.

“As a result,” the complaint alleges, “Tractor owners have no choice but to hire Deere Repair Services at a [higher] and non-competitive price for services that historically could be performed independent[ly] of Deere and for less cost.” The complaint refers to this as a tying arrangement.

The complaint alleges that this is because Deere makes more money from service and repair, “a far more lucrative business” that is “three to six times more profitable than its sales of original equipment.”

According to the complaint, “[a]fter a trade group representing Deere made a highly-publicized promise in 2018 to make the necessary Software and tools available by January 2021, Deere has failed to follow through on this promise.” In 2021, the complaint says, investigative journalists tried to determine whether these things were available, but dealerships claimed they did not sell software or that it was only available to licensed dealers and they could not sell it on to others.

The complaint alleges that this stifles competition, reduces choice, and keeps prices high.

There’s another factor as well, the complaint claims: “Deere’s aggressive, forced consolidation of its Dealerships also was implemented with the intent of further limiting price competition for Deere Repair Services, even among Deere Dealerships.” It has “eliminate[d] inter-brand competition for Repair Services.”

The complaint alleges that all of these actions have violated the Sherman Act antitrust laws.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Antitrust

Most Recent Case Event

John Deere Equipment with ECUs Monopoly on Repairs Complaint

February 11, 2022

This antitrust class action claims to be brought on behalf of those who bought repair services for John Deere equipment that contained engine control units (ECUs). It alleges that Deere and Co. has formed a monopoly on such services with affiliated dealership and technicians for the repair of Deere tractors, combines, and other heavy equipment, through the withholding of proprietary software and associated repair tools that are needed for regular and more difficult repair work.

John Deere Equipment with ECUs Monopoly on Repairs Complaint

Case Event History

John Deere Equipment with ECUs Monopoly on Repairs Complaint

February 11, 2022

This antitrust class action claims to be brought on behalf of those who bought repair services for John Deere equipment that contained engine control units (ECUs). It alleges that Deere and Co. has formed a monopoly on such services with affiliated dealership and technicians for the repair of Deere tractors, combines, and other heavy equipment, through the withholding of proprietary software and associated repair tools that are needed for regular and more difficult repair work.

John Deere Equipment with ECUs Monopoly on Repairs Complaint
Tags: Antitrust, Machinery or Equipment, Repair or Servicing