Toyota has announced it is making thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents available royalty free to other vehicle industry stakeholders. The automaker says the initiative aims to spur the development and introduction of innovative fuel cell technologies around the world.
Toyota will invite royalty-free use of approximately 5,680 fuel-cell-related patents, including critical 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.
“At Toyota, we believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen,” says Bob Carter, senior vice president of automotive operations at Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. “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 says this represents the first time it has made its patents available free of charge. The company will offer the patents to automakers that will produce and sell fuel cell vehicles, as well as to fuel cell parts suppliers and energy companies that wish to establish and operate fueling stations. Companies working to develop and introduce fuel cell busses and industrial equipment, such as forklifts, 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.
As part of licensing agreements, Toyota will request, but will not require, that other companies share their fuel-cell-related patents with Toyota for similar royalty-free use.
Companies interested in Toyota's the patents will negotiate individual contracts with Toyota. Additional details, including licensing terms and application process, are available upon request, the company notes.