BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal appeals court has affirmed a decision by a North Dakota judge who blocked a state law meant to protect farm equipment dealers.

Four major manufacturers of farm implements filed a lawsuit two years ago challenging the law that permits North Dakota implement dealers to sell generic rather than name-brand replacement parts. They say the law is unconstitutional.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland's decision to prevent the law from taking effect.

The legislation sailed through the Legislature in 2017 with strong bipartisan support.

The lawsuit was filed by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers and manufacturers Agco, CNH, Deere & Company and Kubota. The companies argued the law interferes with federal right-to-contract and copyright protection claims.

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