In a bid to further the development of hydrogen fuel cell technology among other manufacturers, Toyota has announced they are making 5,680 patents relating to hydrogen and fuel cell technology available royalty-free.

Included in the bundle are 3,350 patents related to software to manage a fuel cell system, 1,970 patents that pertain to fuel cell stacks, 290 for high-pressure hydrogen tanks and 70 that cover production and supply.

Those related to production and supply will remain royalty-free for life while those dealing with the actual vehicle will be good through 2020.

While no doubt a significant advancement, whether or not it’ll be enough to advance the use of hydrogen fuel cell technology past the budding electric vehicle movement remains to be seen. The move also isn’t unique.

Last June, Tesla CEO Elon Musk essentially did exactly the same thing, vowing not to initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wants to use their technology. Musk said it was done in the spirit of the open source movement for the advancement of electric vehicle technology.

Key to the adoption of fuel cell technology, as was the case with Tesla, will be refueling stations. Tesla already has a relatively vast network of recharging stations dotting the map but the same can’t be said about hydrogen fuel.

Do you believe hydrogen fuel cell technology is the future of automobile transportation? Or does Tesla have it right with its fully electric approach? Or are we destined to continue our reliance on fossil fuels for the foreseeable future?