By on January 6, 2015


Last year, Tesla granted every one of its competitors full access to its myriad of patents, in the hope they would, in turn, build more EVs.

This year? Toyota is doing the same with its hydrogen fuel-cell patents to help spur on further FCV development.

The automaker made the announcement Monday during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where those interested in building their own Mirai can do so with information gathered from the 5,600-plus patents linked to the FCV. Said patents include “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.”

There is a catch for this access, of course: Royalty-free use of Toyota’s patents related to FCVs will last until the end of “the initial market introduction period,” set to end in 2020. Those who are more interested in building the infrastructure for those FCVs, however, will have unlimited access indefinitely. Toyota also asks that any patents developed from those by the former be shared with the automaker, but does not require any party do so.

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12 Comments on “Toyota Grants Royalty-Free Use Of Over 5K Hydrogen Patents...”

  • avatar

    Didnt Ford do the same thing with its infotainment system? With the market being so competitive I really dont see this taking off. For this to have a big enough impact it would have to have several (atleast 6) of the OEMs to join in. And even when four join together sometimes only something like Duel Mode comes out of it.

  • avatar

    “Hear that?”

    “Hear what? I don’t hear anything”

    “Exactly, that’s the sound of all the other manufacturers rushing out to copy Toyota’s FCV patents”

    “Can they copy the car’s design as well?”

    “Only the Halloween costume designers will have that privileged access”

  • avatar

    5,870 patents
    lawyers and renewals fees perhaps $200k each
    development costs perhaps $300k each
    so 5,870 patents x $500k = about $3 gigabuck

    so very roughly, Toyota has spent $3 billion on IP for H2 Fuel Cell cars and it basically of no financial value.

    and still the infrastructure cost of a hydrogen station is equivalent to providing free Teslas (S-60 on a lease) per H2 vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      Patents aren’t anywhere near that expensive, even for a big company like Toyota.

      • 0 avatar

        I pay about about $1000 per country per year for my patent, it covers about 3 countries.

        I don’t know how much European countries and Asian countries cost patentwise, but if Toyota patents in say 20 Eu countries, 7 Asian countries and 4 American countries then thats 31 countries – patent fees per year. times that for 20 years and that is 600 – SIX HUNDRED patent annual patent renewals – at $1000 each thats $600,000 just on renewal/lawyer fees for one patent. Add another $30k for initial application, + much $$$$ some serious fees for translation (ie japanese to Spanish etc)

        Even if home country patents are cheap due to ignoring legal costs, patents get seriously expensive when multiple countries and multiple languages get involved. Chinese patents will be in simplified Chinese, Korean patents in Korean, Taiwanese patents in old Chinese, Japanese patents in Japanese – ouch big$$$$. South American patents in Spanish and Portuguese.

        And patents don’t appear out of thin air, somebody has spent serious money developing the tech that gets patented, $300k in Japanese development costs is not much at all.

        Toyota’s H2 fuel cell patent portfolio could have cost 3x my $3gigabuck figure. Its not hard after some the development costs that gets reflected in the finer – later patents.

  • avatar

    Now the Chinese will be able to get into the game. Chinese made 10,000 psi hydrogen tanks. Maybe your local Quikee Mart can stick a Chinese made 10,000 psi hydrogen pump next to their well maintained tire air compressor. What could possibly go wrong?

    • 0 avatar

      Chinese have banned high pressure type IV tanks as dangerous, due to in uses CNG type 4 tanks failing testing at a testing facility.

      So Toyota Mirai will not pass Chinese safety standards, their type (type 4) is banned in China.


  • avatar

    Cadillac are rumored to be producing a car that runs on laughing gas

  • avatar

    Hope they kept the patent on ugly.

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