Toyota announces royalty-free hydrogen fuel cell patents

Toyota is making approximately 5,680 hydrogen fuel cell patents available on a royalty free basis.

Announced yesterday at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, the Toyota initiative is designed to encourage the global development and introduction of fuel cell technologies. 

Toyota said it would invite royalty-free use of the fuel cell related patents, including technologies developed for the new Toyota Mirai.  The list includes approximately 1,970 patents related to fuel cell stacks, 290 associated with high-pressure hydrogen tanks, 3,350 related to fuel cell system software control and 70 patents related to hydrogen production and supply.
In a statement, Bob Carter, senior vice president of Automotive Operations at Toyota Motor Sales, USA said: ‘At Toyota, we believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen.

‘The first generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, launched between 2015 and 2020, will be critical, requiring a concerted effort and unconventional collaboration between automakers, government regulators, academia and energy providers.

‘By eliminating traditional corporate boundaries, we can speed the development of new technologies and move into the future of mobility more quickly, effectively and economically.’

Toyota had previously licenced patents related to hybrid vehicles, a move claimed to facilitate the widespread adoption of such vehicles. The latest announcement represents the first time that Toyota has made its patents available free of charge, reflecting what the company described as ‘aggressive support’ for developing a hydrogen-based society.

Toyota said the hydrogen fuel cell patents will be made available to automotive manufacturers who will produce and sell fuel cell vehicles, as well as to fuel cell parts suppliers and energy companies who establish and operate fuelling stations, through the initial market introduction period, anticipated to last until 2020.

Companies working to develop and introduce fuel cell busses and industrial equipment, such as forklift trucks, are also covered. Requests from parts suppliers and companies looking to adapt fuel cell technology outside of the transportation sector will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.