Daikin Europe lifts patents on R32 in VRF systems
JAPAN/BELGIUM: Daikin Industries has waived its rights to a further 120 R32 patents, including 30 jointly held with Daikin Europe relating to the manufacture and sale of VRF in Europe.
The holder of a large number of patents governing the use of R32 in air conditioning systems, this latest pledge of non-assertion of patents by Daikin means a total of 419 R32 patents can be used without the need for prior permission or written contract from Daikin.
Daikin has been the main driver in the adoption of the flammable gas as a lower GWP alternative to R410A, launching its first R32 residential equipment in Japan in 2012. Since then most air conditioning manufacturers have adopted the A2L refrigerant in smaller systems.
Providing free access to its patents is seen as the best way to accelerate the adoption of R32, particularly in the light of further regulatory pressures from forthcoming amendments to the European F-gas regulations and the wider global Kigali Amendment.
In a statement, Daikin Europe said: “Providing this free access will further promote the use of the non-blended, single-component HFC-32 refrigerant in VRF systems, which has a lower global warming impact than R410A, the refrigerant conventionally used in VRF systems.”
“Daikin comprehensively evaluates a wide variety of refrigerants and promotes the selection of the appropriate refrigerant for each application, and currently considers HFC-32 to be the most suitable refrigerant for VRF systems,” said Martin Dieryckx, general manager at Daikin Europe’s Environmental Research Centre.
The patents that Daikin Europe pledged not to assert include those relating to the control of compressor rotation speed and safety systems such as refrigerant leakage sensors.
“The pledge will make it easier for other air conditioning and heating manufacturers to develop VRF systems using HFC-32. Furthermore, promoting the installation of safety systems in equipment reduces the burden on air conditioning installers to inspect equipment,” said Kazuhide Mizutani, general manager of EMEA Research Centre.
The Japanese air conditioning manufacturer first granted free access to developing countries for 93 patents relating to air conditioners in 2011 and extended free access to these worldwide in 2015. In 2019, it also extended its “Pledge for Non-assertion of Patents” to subsequently filed patents. In 2021, pledged patents were further expanded to a total of 299 patents.
Currently, more than 160 million residential and commercial air conditioners are said to be using R32 in 100 countries.
A list of the pledged patents and the specifics regarding the pledge is available here.
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Daikin eases access to R32 patents – 1 July 2019
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