A stop sale has been issued on one of Mercedes’ high-tech gizmos due to a dispute over patents.
The Airscarf system is available on all convertible Merc and acts by blowing hot air through the seat headrest onto the necks of the driver and passenger, allowing them to travel alfresco even in cold weather.
However, Automobilwoche reports that Germany’s Federal Court of Justice has banned the car maker from selling its Airscarf headrest after a long dispute with an agency that holds the original patent, which was developed and registered by Ludwig Schatzinger in 1996.
Daimler has been fined €250,000 ($283,137) and has been ordered remove all of its advertising and promotional material about the system. Moreover, it must document how often it used the heating system and indemnify Schatzinger accordingly with an unspecified amount of money. “We are surprised by the verdict”, a company spokesperson said, without disclosing if Mercedes will contest this ruling.
It remains unclear how many cars are equipped with the Airscarf, as it was introduced in 1998 and could be commissioned in the SLK/SLC, SL, C-Class Convertible, E-Class Cabriolet, S-Class Coupe and Cabrio, and the SLS AMG Roadster.
Cars already sold with the system will not be affected, nor will vehicles destined for other markets besides Germany. However, this ruling will only be temporary as the patent rights will expire on December 25, 2016.