Mercedes-Benz Verdict Puts Neck-Warming Technology on Ice
Sales of scarves are poised to jump in Germany after a court ruled Mercedes-Benz can’t blow on its customer’s exposed necks.
A verdict from that country’s Federal Court of Justice just dug a temporary grave for the automaker’s “Airscarf” system, Carscoops reports, citing the German publication Automobilwoche.
The outcome of the automaker’s legal dispute with the company that holds the original 1996 patent means a “stop sale” order for models equipped with the warm air-blowing headrest.
First used in 1998, Airscarf adds luxury and maybe even a bit of romance to all drop-top Benz models, allowing drivers to enjoy open-air motoring even after the leaves start to turn.
A spokesperson for the company told Carscoops, “We are surprised by the verdict.”
Luckily for Mercedes-Benz, inventor Ludwig Schatzinger’s patent runs out on Christmas of this year, meaning the automaker can go back to legally blowing air on people the next day.
In the meantime, the automaker is being fined a quarter million euros ($283,137) and is ordered to remove any mention of Airscarf from advertising and promotional materials. It also has to compensate Schatzinger an undisclosed amount for every vehicle sold with the technology.
The verdict doesn’t affect models already sold, and the stop sale on new vehicles applies only in Germany.
Once Dec. 25 rolls around, happy days and warm necks return to Stuttgart.
[Image: Mercedes-Benz USA]
The C-Class coupe looks pretty sharp, and gets rid of the squatty dog design on the sedan. (I also pic up hints of Porsche there in cabriolet format.) Mimics the giant S-Coupe pretty well.
The model pictured looks like an antique bathtub to me. Try to suck less next time Daimler.
I think other manufacturers use a similar hot air down your neck system, no? Does this affect anybody other than MB?
This sounds like that Greg Kinnear movie, "Flash of Genius," about that guy who invented intermittent windshield wipers, sued Ford and won. Then again, maybe it's completely different.