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Toyota cagey about when fuel cell royalties will kick in

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Toyota's Mirai fuel cell car on display at a recent electronics trade show in Las Vegas.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- The birth of the auto industry in the West was an era of boisterous disputes over intellectual property. A century later, as the industry looks to make the jump from gasoline to hydrogen, Toyota Motor is doing what would have been unthinkable back then: letting rivals use patented technology for free.

     Toyota says it will waive royalties for about 5,680 patents on fuel cell vehicle technology, an area where it leads rivals, until the end of 2020. The patents cover areas vital to the development and production of hydrogen-powered cars, including fuel cell stacks, hydrogen tanks and system software control.

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