A victory for farmers in their battle with John Deere

This is a big deal if true. It’s not only the cost but downtime during critical periods. Sometimes you only have a couple days to get things done before the rain or snow. Still have to get the computers, manual, etc. at least it’s an option. The boys on the farm mentioned their repair bill this season was $20,000 so it is no small line item.

Deere should be forced to make parts and repair info available to farmers or their independent repair shops, but Deere makes a good point about not sharing intellectual property. IMO anyone that obtains the parts, information, or resources should sign a non-disclosure agreement.

How is it different than any other piece of machinery? Should we be required to sign an NDA at the Toyota dealership if we buy a cluster PCBA for example?

They don’t need to supply detailed information to troubleshoot to the component level but they should offer diagnostic equipment and board level repair parts to anyone. No need for IP exposure, it would be no different than a DIY car repair…

Deere designed it that way. There are ways to keep your intellectual property, but still have it open. It’s done with software all the time.


The issue was that John Deere had software that wouldn’t allow anyone to repair the tractor without an access code and wouldn’t allow non-OEM parts to be used. This lawsuit had wide implications for anyone trying to repair anything. The OEM couldn’t prevent anyone from attempting a repair, nor could it stop the use of aftermarket parts.

Sounds like a good victory but especially with all the electronic components, I’m wondering about the future availability of parts.

Farm equipment typically lasts a long,long time but electronic components typically have a finite life whether by age or obsolecence so when that chip fails or the program becomes obsolete will the replacement or support still be available?

It’s not the same level but last week I trashed a perfectly good Nikon SLR because APS film is no longer available and a flatbed scanner because Windows 10 drivers were also not available.

Early chip failure is typically infant mortality. If they last past a few months they will last for a very long time as long as environmental requirements are met.

When I got a new laptop a few months ago, I wound-up having to also buy a new printer because the new laptop doesn’t support my old printer. But, I am keeping the old printer to use as just a copy machine until its cartridges finally go dry.

In general electronics last several magnitudes longer than mechanical parts do. Chips rarely fail if ever. I have one old system with a chip set (8086) that’s 40+ years old. Software can easily be upgraded.

Properly designed electronic systems that need to last a long time can be compartmentalized to basically do upgrade swaps when needed. Example. My company designs and builds system solutions for the telecom industry. There’s one system that we designed that was using 4g communication. We purposely designed the telecom communication part to be it’s own separate little component so that upgrading to the next gen (5g) would be easy. Just swap out that component instead of having to buy a whole new system.

I’m having an issue with my printer as well. It’s a relatively new HP Laser printer. Every time my Mac Pro (2019) updates, I’ve had to reload the printer software to get it to work. On the last update, even that has not worked.

I had to buy a new printer last year just before taxes. It could only be installed with Wi-Fi. After installing I could hook the cable up from my computer. My desk top is nit Wi-Fi. I ‘‘twas able to use my iPad to install the dang thing. I don’t like Wi-Fi on my computer for security reasons and do all financial stuff with a hard cable. Don’t know how long that will last. Then hp want to monitor and send me ink cartridges. I just would rather not have hp watching my printer.

It’s a reasonable concern, however you don’t have to have your computer on wifi…just the printer. And with todays standards wifi is very secure. The printer connects to wifi via your router. Your computer can be hardwired, but the printer can be on wifi. Both will be connected to your local network. Any device (computer, cellphones…etc) on your local network can see and use the printer. Connecting the printer to your computer only allows you to print from your computer.

Well speaking of farm equipment and farmers I ran across this monster and apparent interest of large farm owners

'owner serviceable; is a big selling point

1 Like

That is going to be a huge selling point.