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Toyota’s decision to share 5,000+ patents to help speed the introduction of a hydrogen fuel-cell society as an interesting piece of strategic thinking.  Philanthropy and standards aside, the admission that the problem is too big for even a company of its size to crack is a reminder that displacing an incumbent (petrol) is often even harder than creating in the first place.  It also relies on a number of constants and assumptions – some of which are already being tested.

Ignoring economic niceties, focusing too heavily on any problem risks something else blindsiding you and steeling lunch.  The explosion of car sharing services (Uber) coupled with high speed internet access offers a genuine threat to vehicle ownership ratio’s within cities.  Add Silicon Valley and their driverless prototypes and you might begin to wonder if this type of IP offering is more of attempt to reach out, extend influence and perhaps more crucially buy time.

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