John Deere must heere a right-to-repair lawsuit filed against it by customers sick of its efforts to prevent them repairing their own equipment, reports Reuters. The agricultural giant John Deere wanted to dismiss claims (pdf) alleging that it operates a monopoly through its products and the ability to service them. The suit alleges that John Deere prevents consumers and independent repair shops from fixing their own property.
U.S. District Judge Iain Johnston in Rockford, Illinois, rejected Deere's effort to dismiss consolidated lawsuits accusing the Moline, Illinois-based company of violating U.S. antitrust law.
"According to the complaint's allegations, Deere has the ultimate control of the repair services market," Johnston wrote in his 89-page order. "These allegations are not mere legal conclusions. The complaint is chock-full of factual allegations to support this conclusion."Reuters
Software locks and parts that need approval from the original manufacturer, or "parts pairing" are corporate savvy methods of ensuring that no customer is a one-off. They have to continue to purchase tools, software or in-person help directly from the company. It's an an effective business model, and one that ultimately disenfranchises the consumer. Surely when you buy a product, it's yours, right? Well, if you can't fix it, you don't own it.
More right-to-repair legislation is making its way through the courts, slowly but hopefully.