"If IBM decides it wants to jack the maintenance price in order to make a new machine sale, they can do it because there is no competition," Gordon-Byrne said.
IBM is not the first major hardware firm to use this tactic to generate more after-market sales, according to Gordon-Byrne. Oracle adopted a similar practice for its servers after it acquired Sun Microsystems, and its considerable line of hardware, in 2010.
The Service Industry Association -- which focuses on helping the computer, medical and business products service industries-- created DRTR in January 2013 to fight against encroaching after-market control of hardware manufacturers. The SIA itself protested Oracle's move away from free patches as well.
DRTR is actively tracking a number of similar cases involving after-market control of hardware, such as an Avaya antitrust trial due to start Sept. 9 in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.
IBM declined to comment for this story.