Toyota is making available thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents royalty free.
Announced at the 2015 International CES, Toyota says this initiative aims to spur development and introduction of innovative fuel cell technologies around the world.
Toyota will invite royalty-free use of some 5,680 fuel cell related patents held globally, including technologies developed for the new Toyota Mirai. The list includes about 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.
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 that establish and operate fueling 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.
This announcement represents the first time that Toyota has made its patents available free of charge.
This Toyota initiative builds on previous commitments, including financial support for the development of a hydrogen fueling infrastructure in California and the northeastern US. In May 2014, Toyota announced a $7.3 million loan to FirstElement Fuels to support the operations and maintenance of 19 hydrogen fueling stations across California. In November 2014, Toyota announced a collaboration with Air Liquide to develop and supply a phased network of 12 hydrogen stations targeted for New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island.