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John Deere Monopoly on Repair of Equipment Antitrust Class Action

Deere & Co., which does business as John Deere, makes tractors, combines, and other agricultural equipment that often now contain engine control units, or ECUs. In former times, farmers could repair their equipment themselves, or take it to other parties for repair. But the complaint for this antitrust class action alleges that Deere has deliberately formed a monopoly for the repair of its equipment by holding back necessary software and repair tools from farmers and independent repair shops.

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

Deere has a larger market share for its large equipment than the next two biggest makers combined, the complaint alleges, and its proprietary software has become necessary to make repairs.

“For example,” the complaint alleges, “an owner of a Tractor may be able to replace the transmission on their equipment, but that Tractor will not operate unless proprietary John Deere software ‘approves’ the newly-installed part.” Without that approval, the equipment will not start. The software is therefore necessary even for mechanical repairs.

However, Deere only allows Deere dealerships to access the full software, the complaint alleges, and those dealerships are not permitted to sell it to others, such as individuals and independent repair shops. The complaint contends, “By making the Software, for all practical purposes, unavailable, Deere has succeeded in foreclosing competition in the multi-billion-dollar Deere Repair Services Market.”

This is not a small matter, the complaint alleges, because “Deere’s business for its Repair Services is three to six times more profitable than its sales of original equipment.” The monopoly, the complaint claims, allows it to charge high prices for repairs. “As of 2021,” the complaint alleges, “the reported cost for Repair Services from Deere or an authorized Dealer could range from $150-180 per hour, with additional charges for travel and parts.”

Deere’s dealerships have also gone through an “aggressive, forced consolidation” that the complaint claims has further limited customers’ choices when it comes to repair.

Thus, the complaint alleges, “Prices in the Repair Services Market exceeded the amount they would have paid if the prices had been determined by a competitive market.” The complaint says that “Deere’s illegal monopoly of the Deere Repair Services Market should be enjoined and dismantled” and that equipment owners should be reimbursed for their overpayments for repairs.

The counts include various violations of the Sherman Act.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Antitrust

Most Recent Case Event

John Deere Monopoly on Repair of Equipment Antitrust Complaint

February 22, 2022

Deere & Co., which does business as John Deere, makes tractors, combines, and other agricultural equipment that often now contain engine control units, or ECUs. In former times, farmers could repair their equipment themselves, or take it to other parties for repair. But the complaint for this antitrust class action alleges that Deere has deliberately formed a monopoly for the repair of its equipment by holding back necessary software and repair tools from farmers and independent repair shops.

John Deere Monopoly on Repair of Equipment Antitrust Complaint

Case Event History

John Deere Monopoly on Repair of Equipment Antitrust Complaint

February 22, 2022

Deere & Co., which does business as John Deere, makes tractors, combines, and other agricultural equipment that often now contain engine control units, or ECUs. In former times, farmers could repair their equipment themselves, or take it to other parties for repair. But the complaint for this antitrust class action alleges that Deere has deliberately formed a monopoly for the repair of its equipment by holding back necessary software and repair tools from farmers and independent repair shops.

John Deere Monopoly on Repair of Equipment Antitrust Complaint
Tags: Antitrust, Repair or Servicing, Requiring Consumer to Pay Higher Prices