DMFCC Signs License Option Agreement

August 14, 2002 by Jeff Shepard

The California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Southern California (USC, Los Angeles, CA) have converted a previously announced letter of intent to a firm agreement with Direct Methanol Fuel Cell Corp. (DMFCC, Pasadena, CA). The agreement provides DMFCC with rights to 26 issued, and over 40 pending, US and foreign patents on the direct methanol fuel cell technology that was invented at Caltech, NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL, Pasadena, CA) and USC.

The patents include one fundamental patent for using methanol dissolved in water as the fuel with a solid polymer membrane electrolyte, as well as patents on a new membrane, fuel cell designs and a methanol sensor. The agreement also provides for access to key JPL and USC scientists who developed the technology in order to ensure its effective transfer to DMFCC, and for Caltech and USC to be equity shareholders in DMFCC.

"These patents are crucial to our business model and are the result of over $10.0 million of research and development investment," stated DMFCC CEO Carl Kukkonen. "Several companies are pursuing direct methanol fuel cells without the benefit of this intellectual property and their products may infringe one or more of the patents, which have been issued in the US and Australia, and are pending in Europe, Japan, China and Korea. DMFCC, together with Caltech and USC, intend to strategically enforce their intellectual property rights."