Why Ford’s patent announcement is overhyped


The automotive industry has traditionally adopted a we-invented-it-here culture—desperately holding onto and protecting the technology its created in house. So, Ford’s announcement Thursday that it will open up its portfolio of patents to competitors in an effort to accelerate the development of electric vehicles was met with oohs and aahs—as well as comparisons to Tesla Motors.

Let’s all take a deep breath.

Ford [fortune-stock symbol= »F »] has more than 650 patents and about 1,000 pending applications related to electrification and hybrid tech. That’s a notable figure. However, while the automaker is offering competitors access to patents, it is not giving them away for free. To date, Tesla Motors is the only automaker that has shared all of its patents for free.

Ford, which produces a total of six hybrid and fully electrified vehicles, including the Ford Focus Electric and Ford Fusion hybrid, is licensing about 15 families of patents related…

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