According to Automobilwoche (Automobile Week), the German federal court has ruled that Daimler, parent of Mercedes-Benz, can no longer sell or market Airscarf equipment in Germany as it infringes on an earlier patent not held by the company.
The judgement, handed down last week, bans the automaker from selling vehicles in Germany equipped with Airscarf. The company will reportedly disable the Airscarf system on all convertibles sold in the country from May 9, 2016. Daimler faces a fine of 250,000 euros ($390,000) if it breaches the court order.
Back in 1996, Ludwig Schatzinger successfully applied for a German patent for a "heating system for open vehicles which effectively prevents hypothermia of the head, neck and shoulder region". This German patent expires on December 26, 2016.
According to the Automobilwoche, the lawsuit was filed not by Schatzinger, but by a patent licensing agency.
German owners of a Mercedes-Benz cabriolet equipped with an Airscarf mechanism needn't worry, as the court's ruling isn't retroactive. The company has been ordered, though, by the court to tally up the number of Airscarf-equipped cars it has sold since February 28, 1998, with compensation due to Schatzinger at rate that's yet to be set.
CarAdvice has been told that the ruling only applies to vehicles sold in Germany, and that convertibles sold in Australia and other jurisdictions will still be available with the Airscarf.