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Toyota Makes its Fuel Cell Patents Free to Use

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 1/6/2015 Alex Nishimoto
Toyota Makes its Fuel Cell Patents Free to Use

Toyota wants hydrogen to succeed, which is one reason why it opened up 5680 patents related to its fuel cell technology. The globally held patents include technologies developed for the new Toyota Mirai, and will now be available for automakers and other companies to use free of royalties.

Included in the now royalty-free patents are 1970 filings related to fuel cell stacks, 290 related to high-pressure hydrogen tanks, 3350 related to fuel system control software, and 70 pertaining to hydrogen production and supply. The patents are free to use by automakers, fuel cell suppliers, and companies working on hydrogen-powered buses or industrial equipment. Energy companies will also have access to Toyota's hydrogen tech to help then better establish a fueling infrastructure. Suppliers and companies outside of the transportation sector will be required to submit requests to use the tech, which will be reviewed and approved on a case-by-case basis.

2016 Toyota Mirai© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Toyota Mirai “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," said Toyota's senior vice president of automotive operations Bob Carter in a release. "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.”

2016 Toyota Mirai© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Toyota Mirai Toyota previously licensed its hybrid technology to other automakers in a move to bring hybrids into the mainstream, but the company says this is the first time it has made its patents available for free. Toyota's announcement follows a similar move by Tesla, which opened up its patents to the world last summer. Just as Toyota hopes to promote the adoption of hydrogen, Tesla made its patents available to encourage EV development and all-electric competition.

Toyota says its fuel cell patents will be available royalty-free until the end of 2020, while its hydrogen production and supply patents will remain open indefinitely. The company says it will request, but not require, companies that use Toyota's tech to share their fuel cell-related patents in return.

Source: Toyota

2016 Toyota Mirai© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Toyota Mirai
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