In a move that will allow for open use of its technologies, Toyota is making available thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents for royalty-free use. This access may lead to greater collaboration among car makers, governments, power firms and researchers in the industry and make hydrogen technologies more accessible.
Toyota has stated that it hopes the release of these patents will open a “door to the hydrogen future” and encourage the use and development of innovative fuel cell technologies internationally.
Patents for the 2016 Toyota Mirai are included in the royalty-free offering. Credit: Toyota.
The patents include 1,970 related to fuel cell stacks, 290 for high-pressure hydrogen tanks, 3,350 for fuel cell system software control and 70 related to hydrogen production and supply. This move mirrors that of Tesla which shared its patents in 2014. These patents include the new 2016 Toyota Mirai, whose name means “future” in Japanese.
Patents related to fuel cell vehicles will remain royalty-free until 2020, while 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.
The companies eligible to use the Toyota patents include: developers and marketers of hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, parts suppliers for said developers/sellers, fueling station developers, companies that develop/sell hydrogen buses, and/or industrial equipment that uses fuel cell technology.