In Las Vegas last night, Toyota announced at the Consumer Electronics Show that it would make available the royalty-free use of around 5,680 of its fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) related patents.
The aim is to accelerate the launch of fuel cell vehicles and the roll-out of hydrogen refuelling stations worldwide.
ITM chief executive Dr Graham Cooley said: "We are delighted that Toyota has taken this bold step to kick-start the market.
"This is the most significant news we have seen in the development of FCEVs and will be a major driving force for other OEMs to develop hydrogen vehicles and for governments worldwide to fund hydrogen refuelling infrastructure".
Toyota said at the event it believed that hydrogen-electric will be the "primary fuel … for the next hundred years", ITM reported.
"Very simply we cannot have the car without the re-fuelling stations," said Toyota.
ITM Power is involved in a pioneering £31mln project to make hydrogen vehicles a viable option for motorists across Europe.
Its selection as the hydrogen refuelling partner for London for the HyFive car project saw a contract awarded to supply three ITM Power electrolyser-based refuelling stations.
ITM Power shares nudged 1.59% higher to 32p each.