Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Toyota to Provide Over 5,600 Patents Royalty-Free to Accelerate Fuel Cell Technology



It's almost impossible to isolate the number of patents that have been filed related to automobiles. In many of these cases, those patents are guarded fiercely by the right holders.

In the United States, the early days of the automobile was controlled under what was called the Selden Patent. Filed by George B. Selden in 1879, the broad patent established a basis that allows the collection of royalties on any automobile manufactured by an American automaker. It was only when tenacious car pioneer Henry Ford fought and eventually won a court battle against the Selden Patent in 1911 that a four-wheeled vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine could be developed without paying a royalties. Since the Selden patent, the procedure of protecting certain techniques and technologies for financial gain has resulted in steady employment for attorneys. However, as the automobile enters a new stage of life, some auto companies have demonstrated courage by offering some of their patented technology available to anyone who will find it useful. Last year, Tesla Motors presented all of their patented technology under what is described as an open source offering. At the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, the largest auto company in the world has given the world of innovation over 5,600 paths of exploration into advancing the cause of the hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Seeking to speed up the practical use of fuel cell technology in everyday civilization, Toyota Motor Corporation has provided a potential treasure trove of innovation royalty-free. Commenting on the announcement that has probably been greeted with a standing ovation by scientists and engineers globally, Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations at Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. Bob Carter stated, “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.”

Said to consists of a roughly 1,970 patents for fuel cell stacks plus 3,350 for fuel cell software control, 290 relating to high-pressure hydrogen tanks and 70 associated with hydrogen production and supply, the more than 5,600 patents presents a great deal of useful technology. Included in the release of royalty-free patents issued by Toyota is technologies used to develop the company's Mirai hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Besides automobile development, this technology could become useful outside the automotive sector.

Financially-minded individuals will point out the actions of Toyota and Tesla Motors in presenting their patents royalty-free or open source could cost the companies either an edge in the marketplace or the chance to make revenue. One of the more inventive times in the 20th century occurred during and after the Second World War where patent rights around the world were less protected. When innovations of war were commercialized, however, it marked a massive boom period that has led to advances in our life not limited to automobiles. Microwave ovens, a vast amount of telecommunications technology and fundamentals that has led to modern computers have been extracted through research in a relatively narrow period. This time, mutually beneficial efforts in a more peaceful times could foster a faster progression for hydrogen power.

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