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Toyota makes thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents available

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Toyota hopes to speed up hydrogen development by making thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents available royalty free, including fuel cell technology used in the new Mirai.

Approximately 5,680 fuel cell related patents held globally will be available, including 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.

"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."

Toyota has a history of opening its intellectual properties through collaboration and previously licensed related patents for hybrid vehicles.

But this is 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 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 buses 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.

The announcement covers only fuel cell-related patents wholly owned by Toyota. 

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.

Additional details about Toyota's fuel cell-related patents, including licensing terms and the application process, will be announced in the weeks ahead.

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