Picture caption: TMS Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Bob Carter announces
access to Toyota's fuel cell patents at the International CES in Las Vegas on
Jan 5, 2015.
Toyota is making available
thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents royalty free, thereby opening the door
to the hydrogen future. Toyota made this announcement at the 2015 Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada (US) on January 2015. The show will be
thrown open to public from January 6 to 9, 2015. According to a press release
issued by the company, this Toyota initiative will spur development and
introduction of innovative fuel cell technologies around the world.
The Japanese car major will invite
royalty-free use of approximately 5,680 fuel cell related patents held
globally, 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,” said 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,” he added.
Toyota has a long history of
opening its intellectual properties through collaboration, and was instrumental
in facilitating the widespread adoption of hybrid vehicles by licensing related
patents. Today’s announcement represents
the first time that Toyota has made its patents available free of charge and
reflects the company’s aggressive support for developing a hydrogen-based
In May 2014, Toyota announced
a $7.3 million loan to FirstElement Fuels to support the operations and
maintenance of 19 hydrogen fuelling stations across California. In November
2014, Toyota announced collaboration with Air Liquide to develop and supply a
phased network of 12 state-of-the-art hydrogen stations targeted for New York,
New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.
The hydrogen fuel cell patents
will be made available to automakers 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
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.
Patents related to fuel cell
vehicles will be available for royalty-free licenses until the end of 2020.
Patents for hydrogen production and supply will remain open for an unlimited
duration. 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 fuel cell-related
patents will negotiate individual contracts with Toyota. Additional details, including licensing terms
and application process, will be available upon request, the press release
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