“Liquidmetal Technologies Inc. (LQMT) has been betting on partnerships with Apple Inc. and Swatch Group AG. It hasn’t paid off yet,” Jan Schwalbe and Corinne Gretler report for Bloomberg. “The company developed a metal that’s moldable like plastic and has formed perpetual exclusivity agreements with Apple for consumer electronics products, and with Swatch for watches. While Liquidmetal has succeeded in being included in some of Swatch’s products, the Rancho Santa Margarita, California-based company is still waiting for a big break with Apple.”

“When the Apple Watch was presented on Sept. 9, Liquidmetal’s shares plunged 26 percent, the most since July 2013, because Apple didn’t say whether Liquidmetal’s technology would be incorporated in its new products. The two exclusivity agreements could spell further trouble, as the royalty-based license with Swatch for watches hinders any use in products such as an Apple Watch,” Schwalbe and Gretler report. “‘I suspect a third-party company would have to come to a legal agreement with Liquidmetal and Swatch before it could use Liquidmetal technology for a watch,’ said Rene Weber, an analyst at Bank Vontobel AG in Zurich. ‘In this area, Swatch certainly has a strong position.'”

“In May, the company extended an agreement with Cupertino, California-based Apple through February that provides the company financial and legal support for the filing of patents,” Schwalbe and Gretler report. “Liquidmetal also in May reached an agreement to settle a dispute with contract manufacturer Visser Precision Cast LLC, allowing the company to form more licenses to produce the material.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The Apple-Liquidmetal deal is basically this: Apple contributes engineers and R&D – basically figuring out how to practically make Liquidmetal into commercial parts – and contributes their inventions back to Liquidmetal (via Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, a Liquidmetal subsidiary) which gets to use Apple’s inventions in fields other than consumer electronics (sporting goods, aviation, medical, military, etc.). With an already-paid one-time license fee of US$20 million, Apple owns sole rights to use Liquidmetal in electronics forever via “a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in the field of consumer electronic products.” Whenever it is reported that Apple and Liquidmetal have extend their agreement, it refers to Apple and Liquidmetal lengthening the amount of time where both companies share IP with each other via Crucible.

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