Jan 7, 2015
Announced this week at the 2015 International CES, Toyota is opening the door to the hydrogen future, making available thousands of hydrogen fuel cell patents royalty free. Toyota initiative will spur development and introduction of innovative fuel cell technologies around the world. Toyota 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. The new Mirai Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicle was displayed at the press conference at CES and will be available in the US and Europe this year.
At Toyota’s press conference at CES, theoretical physicist and futurist Dr. Michio Kaku discusses a hydrogen future. He is a longtime proponent of hydrogen, in particular, hydrogen fuel cells as a key means to serve the world’s global energy needs and propel society to a more earth-friendly future. QGITS had the opportunity to talk with Kaku after Toyota’s press announcement. See video:
“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.”
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 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 week’s 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.
Companies interested in Toyota’s fuel cell-related patents will negotiate individual contracts with Toyota. Additional details, including licensing terms and application process, are available upon request.