LAS VEGAS — Toyota announced today that it is following Tesla’s lead and opening up more than 5,600 fuel cell and related patents to the rest of the automotive industry for royalty-free use.
The automaker will open up access to 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, Toyota says.
“At Toyota, we believe that when good ideas are shared, great things can happen,” Toyota VP Bob Carter said in a statement.
“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,” Carter said.
“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 explained.
Today’s announcement represents the first time that Toyota has made its patents available free of charge.
The hydrogen fuel cell patents will be made available to automakers who want to produce and sell fuel cell vehicles, as well as to fuel cell parts suppliers and energy companies who want to establish and operate fueling stations through the initial market introduction period, anticipated to last until 2020.
Toyota says 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 the 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.