German cars to have their systems deactivated; other markets - including the UK - are not affected
13 May 2016

Mercedes-Benz has been ordered to disable the Airscarf ventilation system installed on all new and used cabriolet and roadster models within its German sales network following a court ruling handed down to its parent company, Daimler in a long running patent dispute with patent owner Ludwig Schatzinger.

The ruling, which went into affect on 10 May after a legal process spanning nearly ten years, found Daimler had infringed patent rights in various aspects of the design of its Airscarf ventilation system.

As a result of the infringement, Daimler daughter company, Mercedes-Benz, has been ordered to disable the Airscarf ventilation system on all cars within its German sales network. It has been ordered to report how many cars have been delivered with the Airscarf system and pay unspecified damages.

Among the models involved are the SLK/SLCSLSLS roadster, newly unveiled C-class cabrioletE-class cabriolet, E-class cabriolet and recently introduced S-class cabriolet.

Additionally, the German car maker has been ordered to withdraw all advertising material surrounding the Airscarf system, which uses a ventilation element mounted within the back rest of front seats, to deliver either warm or cooling air to the neck of the driver and front seat passenger.

Cars fitted with the Airscarf system already in the hands of customers are not affected by the court ruling, which only applies to unsold new or used cars.

UK cars are not affected by the court ruling. “It only affects cars within Mercedes-Benz’s German sales network,” an official revealed to Autocar.

The deactivation of the Airscarf system on German market cabriolet and roadster models will only be temporary, though. The patent rights infringed in the design of the current Airscarf system are set to run out on 25 December 2016, allowing Mercedes-Benz to reactivate it on all cars from Christmas onwards.

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Comments
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289

13 May 2016
....just ridiculous.
Especially given that the patent runs out in 25th December.
What a waste of money with only one winner....the Lawyers...again!
Mercedes-Benz were the first to use this design, I would have thought it would have paid them to settle with Schatzinger and draw a line under this stupidity.
After all Schatzinger would have made nothing from his design if M-B hadn't put it into production.

13 May 2016
What a great result for the 'little man' - kind of a David vs Goliath. MB was arrogant to pursue this instead of paying for the intellectual rights that were due. I fully disagree that this is idiotic. Its a glimmer of hope for all small patent holders who get steam-rollered by arrogance of big companies like Daimler.

13 May 2016
That the human race still needs some design work in the 'head' department. All those involved in this farce should be sedated and sent for medical research. Ludicrous doesn't cover it.

13 May 2016
I don't think this is ridiculous or ludicrous. Schatzinger has invented something of real value and has protected his investment. Why shouldn't he enforce his rights against M-B? Surely this is an example of the patent system doing exactly what it is intended to do - give innovators a time-limited monopoly in the technology they create.

14 May 2016
In the meantime Mercedes should source all their cars from the UK or US until such time, seeing that they are not affected here have one of their subsidiaries abroad order a quantity then import it from there....

14 May 2016
Does the ban only work in Germany? So what's the problem a German driver taking their new or used car over the border and have the system reactivated by MB? Or what's to stop MB producing a DIY guide how to reactivate the system? A win for the small guy perhaps but I agree, with the expiry date in December I see no winners, only loosers. The solution sounds plain daft.

14 May 2016
Why is this 'ridiculous', 'ludicrous' or 'arrogant'? Mercedes apparently won 2 earlier rulings. Anyone who's ever read a patent will know they are far from specific, rather they're vague and try to be all-encompassing. Without knowing more about what specific parts have been infringed, what the relationship between the parties was/is and so on, most comments are little more than ramblings.

14 May 2016
Sorry I disagree, this IS ludicrous, I agree with patent protection and yes Daimler should be paying for their arrogance hence the pay unspecified damages but it's removal for 7 months is stupid.

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