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Toyota beat all its carmaker competitors for the title of most US patent filings last year, hands down. The Intellectual Property Owners Association reported that Toyota had 1,491 patents issued in 2012 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. So, what is Toyota doing to generate that many patents?

Two Toyota engineers each earned their 20th patent in 2012.

Toyota is driven to invention by its "commitment to ever better cars that achieve new environmental, safety and technological advancements," the company said in its press release (available below). Or, as USA Today put it, patents "reflect automakers' successes in research and development and also signal their ability to create tomorrow's breakthroughs." Two Toyota engineers at the Toyota Technical Center (TTC) in Michigan, Minjuan Zhang, manager, Toyota Research Institute NA, and Charan Lota, manager, electronic systems at TTC, each earned their 20th patent in 2012.

Toyota's overall patent figure shot up 30 percent compared to 2011 as part of Toyota's commitment to fostering ingenuity and staying in touch with what customers want, according to Toyota. It makes sense that Toyota is investing in innovations as government and consumers expect more from automakers with connected cars, safety and green, advanced technologies. Toyota's recent patents have been filed to cover a gamut of new technologies, things like "smart materials" that help resist insect splatter and improvements in vehicle communication systems.

Toyota may have won the 2012 challenge, but General Motors and Honda say they lead the way when it comes to fuel cell patents, which may be important since the two companies just announced a hydrogen partnership. Specifically, the two companies said, they "rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012, with more than 1,200 between them."
Show full PR text
Toyota Leads All Automakers in 2012 U.S. Patents Issued

Two Toyota Michigan Engineers Each Earn Their 20th Patents

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (July 5, 2013) -- The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued more patents to Toyota's innovative designers and engineers in 2012 than to any other automaker, according to a recently-released survey by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO). The 1,491 patents issued to Toyota companies demonstrate Toyota's commitment to ever better cars that achieve new environmental, safety and technological advancements.

"Since the days of Toyota's founding, innovation has been a cornerstone of Toyota's success," said Kristen Tabar, vice president, electrical systems engineering, Toyota Technical Center (TTC), a division of Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing, Inc. (TEMA). "We're driven to listen to our customers and develop new ways to improve their experience."

Toyota companies received thirty percent more patents in 2012 than the previous year, illustrating the company's increasing success in fostering ingenuity and keeping a keen focus on the customer.
Whether it's creating "smart materials" that can help cars resist insect splatter or improving vehicle communication systems, Toyota leads the way in anticipating and engineering the cars of tomorrow for today.

The Toyota Technical Center, located in Ann Arbor and Saline, Michigan, recently held their annual patent awards ceremony to honor last year's patent recipients. Two team members each received their 20th patent in 2012, Minjuan Zhang, manager, Toyota Research Institute NA (TRINA) and Charan Lota, manager, electronic systems at Toyota Technical Center (TTC).

"Toyota is a great place to be an inventor," said Ms. Zhang. "Everyone here is passionate about improving the customer's experience and it shows in the product."

"You can tell a lot about a company by the new ideas they generate," said Mr. Lota. "And, what these patents show about Toyota is that we are never going to stop trying to make better cars."

For more than 35 years, Toyota Technical Center (TTC), a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing, NA, Inc. has been the driving force behind Toyota's North American engineering and research & development activities. Established in 1977 and headquartered in Michigan, TTC has R&D facilities in Ann Arbor, Saline, Plymouth and Livonia. In addition, TTC has R&D facilities in California and operates the Toyota Arizona Proving Ground near Phoenix.

TTC employs over 1,100 team members and is engaged in engineering design, vehicle evaluation, materials research, prototype building, powertrain tuning, safety/crashworthiness, regulatory affairs and advanced research for Toyota and Lexus vehicles manufactured or sold in North America. TTC has developed the Avalon, Camry, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza and RAV4 EV.

For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.com or www.toyotanewsroom.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 60 Comments
      Tom
      • 1 Year Ago
      just so everyone knows I welcome down votes. It makes me feel like I'm getting to someone. I don't actually post comments to get to people. I post comments because that's how I feel. However when I make a valid statement and get a bunch of down votes. It tells me 1. I'm corect and people hate me for it and don't want to admit it. 2. that I'm getting to someone. Mmmuuuhhhaaa
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Ahhh well, GM and Honda lead with fuel cells! We will start seeing those in cars any moment now! (Ducks to avoid flying tomatoes and shoes hurled in my direction....)
        Tom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @EZEE
        Not sure why GM and Honda are researching fuel cell tech. Its widely know its not the answer. Ite either to keep the tree huggers happy. Or to just take a government grant.
          Tom
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Tom
          Whatever the reason. There is no worthwhile reason for fuel cell tech in the auto industry. Heads of Major auto companies have stated this. May be the tech can be used in another sector. but not for auto use.
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tom
          Maybe for the same reason Daimler, Ford and Nissan formed a JV to research fuel cell technology. As for any down-votes validating your (incorrect) assertion "its widely know its not the answer" Although there are many people who have this opinion (although it would be a little clearer if stated correctly - (it's widely known it's ...), there are many more who do not. And as some of the biggest OEM's in the world have formed JV's to do further development (these are just a few who are researching fuel cells, BTW), and are investing considerable engineering resources to do so, a reasonable person would perhaps admit that they see the effort as being worthwhile!
          Mami
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tom
          Agreed Tom, Hydrogen is a waste of time and resources.
      normc32
      • 1 Year Ago
      So they announce this because of Honds/GM partnership? Me too, me too, me too! Sad but that seems the fluff they advertise in their cars too
      J
      • 1 Year Ago
      How many ways can Toyota patent boredom? 1,491
      chanonissan
      • 1 Year Ago
      patent filing does not mean you are more advance than your competition, but make it harder for your competitor to compete, in that particular product and country with new technology. These filing is for usa. For example,Toyota have a lot of filing on hybrid, but today car companies have equal or a better system.
      Tom
      • 1 Year Ago
      Still tryn to figure out if this is a good thing or bad thing
        Renaurd
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Tom
        Let me help you, .........it's bad, in fact it's very bad, we all know what can happen when Toyota starts tinkering around. Hide grandma, grandpa, aunt Ethel and the little ones.
      m_2012
      • 1 Year Ago
      Half of those patents were recalls.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Locking up all that intellectual property is good for Toyota, but not so much for us. Why would we celebrate? ..
        Marcopolo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        @ bK Thank you .
        Marcopolo
        • 5 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        @ 2 wheeled menace The incentive for investment in commercial technical R&D is profit. No patents = no profit= no profit = no investment = no investment = no R&D. Auto-makers are not charities. Patents are real assets, paid for by investors.
          bK
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Makes sense!
      bubciak
      • 1 Year Ago
      Champ of the recalls as well .
      Pedro Gonsalez
      • 1 Year Ago
      Toyota vs Apple! >.<
      Chris STefani
      • 1 Year Ago
      Let´s Go Toyota !!!
        Alfonso T. Alvarez
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris STefani
        You can't possibly consider yourself a car enthusiast if you are serious about what you just posted. Bland is as bland does and Toyota simply as bland and uninteresting as it comes in the auto world! Yep, they sell a lot of cars and CUV's, but not to enthusiasts - and in their other segments where people are more knowledgeable about what they want, Toyota fails miserably - trucks and SUV's they share the cellar with Nissan.
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          So mayb Alfonso was off in his judgement of Toyota not selling to enthusiasts. Or mayb your neighbor is the exception. Which ever is correct I don't know. But when I think of everyone I know who has a toyota. I know that none of em are interested in cars. Untill Toyota brings back the Supra or turbos the FRS then they will always be a boring auto company
          mchica
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Tom, Toyota has the FR-S and an entire stable of RWD models in it's Lexus line. Far from boring imo And ATA, just because you have made it pretty clear that you are a shlep for GM, doesn't give you an ounce of right to go telling readers they don't belong on an enthusiasts board because they happen to like Toyotas. Grow up douche.
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          And mchica you are the one who needs to grow up with all the fowl language and name calln. Does ur mother know ur on her computer?
          mchica
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Thanks you for the respectful response Tom, the second half of my post was directed at Alfredo (ATA). I agree with you regarding Toyota, they are not built for enthusiasts for the most part, but I think they are changing with the addition of the FR-S and upcoming Supra. But 99% of the vehicles they sell are exactly as another poster put it, A-B transportation, nothing more. Still, if someone on AB likes Toyota, they should not be berated and told to leave or they are not welcome on an enthusiasts board. I don't even like Toyota and even I find it rude and obnoxious. That's all. No offense to you Tom btw.
          mchica
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          If that's the case then no enthusiast should be a fan of anything Buick, or Lincoln either. Get off your high horse douchbag. Go back to ******* Coke Can Dan's ********.
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          @ mchica. I never said somone doesn't belong here because he has a toyota. I just said they are boring and that out of all the Toyota owners I know. Friends, Family, Coworkers. None of them are a car enthusiast. Yes Toyota has the FRS. I actually stated this already .But Where's the turbo. And I don't know if you've ever tried to drive a lexus enthusiastically but with the exception of the LFA you just can't. Also WMB I know you are a Toy owner we've gotteen into that conversation before. I'm not tryn to insult you I'm just sayn toyotas are boring. and agai mcchica don't be so quick to jump on someone's back. Because yes I like GM. I also like several other makes as well. Toyota is a fine car. Would own one over a Ford kia. Hyundai VW mazda. They are just boring to look at and drive. They also led the world in recalls.
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          mmmuuuuhhhhhaa
          WMB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Hahahaha...Buick and car enthusiast, yup they go together. You are smoking Buick too much.....
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Mcchica. I know what you mean. People on here are so quick to rip someone appart because of their auto preferences. Youd think we were talking religion or something. I know that article was a few days ago. One should be able to voice themsleves without either offending someone else or without being insulted by someone else. But I guess its the world we live in. Also most people on here dont realize that having 15 different car companies is actually better for the whole. We can't all drive GMs. Fords. BMws. Toyotas whatever. What a boring world that would be.
          Alfonso T. Alvarez
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          @ mchica - Such language - I bet if you mommy comes down the stairs and finds you typing language like that she'll pull your internet and video gaming for a week! And as noted below a Verano Turbo or especially a Buick Regal GS doesn't make your case any ... now does it?
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Not a fan of Lincoln. But at least buick has a Turbo.
          WMB
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Alfonso T. Alvarez
          Actually autoblog is for everyone not just auto enthusiast. My neighbor has a BMW 135i, Toyota matrix and highlander. What do you call him? Please stop posting bland boring uninteresting non-sense comments every time a Toyota news comes up....
        Scooter
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Chris STefani
        Your kidding? Toyota's are A--->B cars. My mother in laws 2013 Camry is the most boring vehicle in the world. I had more fun pushing a rickety shopping cart through the parking lot than driving that thing.
          Spec
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Scooter
          What's wrong with A-->B cars? Our public streets are governed by strict speed limits and driving behavior laws for our safety so there is nothing wrong with boring cars for that job. You even see ads with race car drivers in their boring cars. Please, have lots of fun at the drag strip and the track with your performance cars but don't endanger others with reckless driving.
      knightrider_6
      • 1 Year Ago
      Were Volkswagen and BMW at the bottom of the list?
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