Toyota Motor North America Continues To Lead in R&D Patents Among Automakers

Toyota added 2,819 patents to its collection in 2020—up four percent from the previous year. The Plano-headquartered company says it invests over $1 million in emerging technology globally every hour.

According to the annual ranking by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) awarded more patents to Toyota than any other automaker in 2020.

With a 4 percent increase from 2019, Toyota Motor North America’s (TMNA) engineers and scientists were granted a total of 2,819 patents in 2020—outpacing any other automaker in the United States.  

“Innovation across Toyota is driving our transition to a mobility company, and Toyota’s leading patent portfolio is one important measure of that progress along with our investments in research, collaboration and partnerships,” the company told Dallas Innovates. 

Since 2017, Toyota has invested more than $1 billion in R&D related to automated vehicles and robotics.

Toyota invests over $1 million in emerging technology globally every hour, and since 2017 has invested more than $1 billion in R&D related to automated vehicles and robotics, the company told Dallas Innovates in an email. The company plans to continue heavily investing in its robust research and development pipeline, which yielded more than 2,000 patents related to autonomous vehicle tech in 2020 alone. 

Frederick Mau, Intellectual Property Counsel and Director of Patent Licensing for TMNA, said the company is pleased to have expanded its patents across a wide range of advanced technology fields over the last year and “especially proud of the incredible accomplishments of our team members,” in a statement.

Mau, who is based at TMNA’s Plano headquarters, joined the team in 2006. He’s in charge of patent filing, prosecution, and patent portfolio management (domestic & foreign) for all Advanced Research, Vehicle Engineering, and Manufacturing business units within North America.

He was previously an intellectual property attorney for an R&D company where he specialized in batteries, fuel cells, solar cells, hydrogen storage, catalysts, and other materials.

Illustration from U.S. Patent 10,892,632, “Configurable grid charging coil with active switch and sensing system,” assigned to Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.

Toyota IP Solutions licensing program launched

Two years ago, Toyota launched Toyota IP Solutions as a licensing program for TMNA’s collection of patents. The intellectual property solutions program was created as a way for Toyota to license its patents to interested parties so that others may reap the rewards of its world-renowned research without a heavy investment.

Toyota previously described the program as a way businesses can gain the benefits from a world-renowned R&D company that invests over $1 million per hour “without actually having to spend $1 million per hour.”

Toyota IP Solutions currently has 5 distinct patent portfolios which include inventions such as robotic artificial muscles and novel air cooling strategies.

Illustration from U.S. Patent 10,737,623, “Cloaking Device,” assigned to Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.

Next-gen STEM

With efforts to inspire the next generation to pursue STEM-based fields, including mobility, Toyota launched a virtual education hub at with an immersive experience and chance to visit many of its U.S. manufacturing facilities. The platform also includes a series of complementary STEM-based lessons and curriculum through Toyota USA Foundation partners, virtual field trips, and more.

“We’re in the business of making great cars and trucks,” the company states. “But we also work every day to apply and share our know-how in ways that benefit people, the community, and our planet in order to build a better tomorrow.”

TMNA says it’s committed to advancing sustainable, next-generation mobility through its brand and Lexus, along with their 1,500 dealerships. 

Toyota directly employs more than 36,000 in the U.S. For decades, it has contributed to the design, engineering, and assembly of more than 30 million cars and trucks at its 9 manufacturing plants, which is soon to become 10 including a joint venture in Alabama that begins production this year, the company said.

Illustration from U.S. Patent 10,737,702, “Visually simulating driving plans in autonomous vehicles,” assigned to Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.

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