Kurt Verlin
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Toyota Secured 2,667 Patents Last Year, More Than Any Other Automaker

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Toyota IsoDynamic Performance Seat
Photo: Toyota

An annual report by the Intellectual Property Owners Association shows Toyota secured 2,667 patents in 2023. This put it 7th in the overall rankings, just ahead of Google and Apple, and well in the lead of all other automakers.

Here’s how the other automakers in the top 300 stack up, for comparison:

7. Toyota – 2,667 patents
15. Hyundai – 2,052
22. Ford – 1,306
28. Honda – 1,142
45. General Motors – 870
79. Porsche – 521
113. Rolls-Royce – 378
140. Nissan – 305
151. Subaru – 279

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Toyota actually secured 12% fewer patents in 2024 compared to 2023, four times that of the 3% depression seen across all industries in the United States. Nonetheless, it was still able to claim the top spot among automakers for the 10th year running.

“This achievement continues to underscore Toyota’s unwavering commitment to innovation, particularly in areas critical to the future of mobility such as electrification and intelligent transportation solutions,” said Toyota senior vice president Sandra Phillips Rogers.

Patents are publicly available and searchable on the USPTO website, and with a little perusing, what you’ll find is that most of those 2,667 patents are somewhat boring — at least from the perspective of a consumer. To engineers, they’re probably the coolest thing.

They do show a tremendous amount of innovation that eventually translate into higher quality products for customers. One of Toyota’s 2023 patents was for kinetic seat cushions, which use air-over-oil shock absorption systems to stabilize occupants. It debuted on the 2024 Tacoma TRD Pro’s segment-first IsoDynamic Performance Seat, pictured above.

Another patent was for a new composite material made of carbon fiber and steel nanomaterial, which could help shore the weaknesses of carbon fiber in certain applications. And more recently, Toyota patented a truck bed cover with a built-in air bladder that would expand downward to help secure small or loose items in the bed.

Patents aren’t necessarily the most accurate test of innovation, but they’re surely a big marker of it. And with more patents secured than any other automaker for 10 consecutive years, Toyota deserves recognition as one of the most innovative manufacturers in the world.