Toyota Offers Royalty-Free Use of 5,680 Fuel Cell Vehicle Patents

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To accompany the recent announcement of Toyota's fuel cell vehicle (FCV), called the Mirai, Toyota opens up use of its 5,680 fuel cell patents on a royalty-free basis. In order to power the motor of a vehicle, fuel cells capture and use electricity released from the combination of oxygen and hydrogen molecules.

Although Toyota announces plans to open 12 hydrogen-fueling stations in the Northeastern United States, there is very little infrastructure around the country to support FCV on a mass production basis. The release of its patents is an apparent attempt to get other automakers to build FCV and help open up new hydrogen-fueling stations and infrastructure.

The caveat is that the royalty-free use of Toyota's patents will expire in 2020 for automakers, although companies involved in hydrogen production and supply will be able to use the patents royalty-free for an unlimited amount of time.

This announcement by Toyota follows a similar announcement made by Tesla Motors in June of last year offering its patents to its competitors for "good faith" use.

Some additional articles on this topic: Engadget.com and CNet.com.