AIRSCARF by Mercedes-Benz is an optional neck heating device placed at the base of the driver and passenger seat headrest in all convertible and roadster models to keep drivers warm in cold weather conditions when they still want to make use of the open roof functionality.
It was seen as a simple yet innovative design by the brand but what some don’t know is that for the past decade the Daimler group has been in a lengthy legal battle regarding its patent.
Ludwig Schatzinger won the legal battle on the 10th of May 2016 with Daimler for coming up with the AIRSCARF idea and not receiving the appropriate accreditation for its design as he held the patent since 1996, two years before Mercedes started installing it in its cars. As a result, Mercedes will no longer be able to sell this heating device as an option to customers and Daimler will be required to pay Schatzinger an undisclosed amount for each model sold with this feature (of which it is assumed to be two-thirds of all open-top models sold since its implementation).
In addition to this, all new cars and used cars in German dealerships with the AIRSCARF that have not yet been sold will have to have the feature disabled and all advertising that features the option will have to be pulled out of circulation. As it stands, this deactivation only affects models residing in Germany, meaning that no global recalls will be put into place.
The patent is set to expire on the 25th of December this year, at which point the feature may be reactivated.