Apple extends Liquidmetal exclusivity deal through February 2015

“According to an SEC document filed on Wednesday, Apple and Liquidmetal have entered a deal to extend an exclusive license to use the exotic metal in consumer products through February 2015, marking the second time the companies decided to prolong their mutual agreement,” Mikey Campbell reports for AppleInsider.

“The Securities and Exchange Commission filing notes the companies entered into a second amendment to the original exclusive rights deal first signed in August 2010, which was itself extended in 2012 under a first amendment,” Campbell reports. “Liquidmetal is classified as an amorphous, non-crystalline material and is some 2.5 times stronger than titanium alloy commonly used in consumer products. The alloy is also 1.5 times harder than stainless steel found in portable electronic devices. Before Apple’s exclusive license, Liquidmetal was first [used in] consumer products in 2003 in medical equipment, sporting goods and special applications by the U.S. Department of Defense.”

Campbell reports, “The new agreement gives Apple another year of exclusivity before patent rights revert back to Crucible Intellectual Property, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liquidmetal Technologies.”

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.). In exchange, along with an already-paid one-time license fee of US$20 million, Apple owns sole rights to use Liquidmetal in electronics via “a perpetual, worldwide, fully-paid, exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in the field of consumer electronic products.”



Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement

Item 1.01. Entry Into a Material Definitive Agreement.

On May 19, 2014, Liquidmetal Technologies, Inc. (the “Company”) and Apple Inc. (“Apple”) entered into an second amendment (the “Second Amendment”) to the Master Transaction Agreement that was originally entered into on August 5, 2010 (the “MTA”) and amended on June 15, 2012 (the “First Amendment”). Under the MTA and the First Amendment, the Company was obligated to contribute to Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, a special purpose subsidiary of the Company, all intellectual property acquired or developed by the Company from August 5, 2010 through February 5, 2014, and all intellectual property held by Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC was exclusively licensed on a perpetual basis to Apple for the field of use of consumer electronic products under the MTA. Under the Second Amendment, the parties agreed to amend the MTA and the First Amendment to extend the February 5, 2014 date to February 5, 2015.

The foregoing does not purport to be a complete description of the Amendment and is qualified by reference to the full text of such agreement, which will be filed with the Company’s next Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q.

Related articles:
Apple granted Liquidmetal patent for hollow structures in possible future product designs – April 23, 2014
Time for Liquidmetal? Claimed leaked photos of Apple’s ‘iPhone 6′ show crazy thin device – April 1, 2014
17 new Apple patent applications detail Liquidmetal alloy use in device buttons, touch sensors, and more – January 14, 2014
Apple patent application reveals sapphire flexible transparent display devices created with Liquidmetal – December 19, 2013
Apple files five Liquidmetal patent applications – November 22, 2013
Four new Apple Liquidmetal-related patents revealed in Europe – September 26, 2013
Apple patent application reveals methods of forming 3D structures with Liquidmetal – July 25, 2013
Apple and Liquidmetal scientists granted new patent that could enable Liquidmetal production on a massive scale – July 16, 2013
Apple patent application reveals new machinery for creating Liquidmetal forms – January 31, 2013
Liquidmetal ships first amorphous alloy production parts – November 16, 2012
Liquidmetal Technologies Inc. and Materion announce sales channel collaboration – September 7, 2012
Futuristic Liquidmetal alloy could transform Apple products – August 15, 2012
Why did Apple lock in Liquidmetal for two more years? – June 25, 2012
New Apple agreement suggests Liquidmetal iPhone will arrive within two years – June 20, 2012
Apple extends Liquidmetal exclusivity deal through February 2014 – June 19, 2012
Why is Apple investing in equipment and machinery at an exponential rate? – May 23, 2012
Apple’s recent huge investments in plants and equipment for Liquidmetal use in iOS devices, Macs? – May 22, 2012
Apple patent app details new, possibly Liquidmetal-based speakerphone system for iOS devices – May 17, 2012
Apple and Liquidmetal: Don’t go by co-inventor’s word, he hasn’t worked for Liquidmetal since 2007 – May 6, 2012
Liquidmetal inventor: Apple will use it in a ‘breakthrough product’ that will be very difficult to copy – May 2, 2012
Whoa! This Liquidmetal iPhone 5 concept looks real – May 2, 2012
Check out these ultra-thin next-gen Liquidmetal iPhone artist’s concept images – May 1, 2012
Is Apple Inc.’s bet on Liquidmetal about to pay off? – April 30, 2012
Liquidmetal Technologies filing outlines its multimillion dollar agreement with Apple – March 31, 2012
Apple granted its first Liquidmetal patent – January 5, 2011
Apple patent application describes scratch-resistant stainless steel – October 29, 2010
Join the dots on six future Apple technologies – September 22, 2010
Apple already using Liquidmetal in their… – August 17, 2010
Inventor says Liquidmetal may be used for new iPhone antenna – August 13, 2010
How will Apple use their exclusive Liquidmetal alloy? – August 12, 2010
Apple’s exclusive Liquidmetal pact could see future Apple products encased in metallic glass – August 11, 2010
Apple inks deal for exclusive rights to custom, super-durable metal alloy – August 09, 2010


    1. It’s probably cheaper to license–especially since Apple probably doesn’t want to devote the resources and personnel to maintaining the research and development themselves.

      It’s kinda the same reason why Apple isn’t outright buying GT Advanced Technology, or why Apple didn’t buy Corning (or at least buy Gorilla Glass from them).

      1. That’s a good point. Also I don’t know if the licensing is exclusive to Apple only and won’t prevent the thieving slavish copying DingDong…err, Samsung from slavishly copying whatever Apple creates with LM.

          1. I am really looking forward to the combination of Liquidmetal and synthetic sapphire – strong, durable, and scratch resistance devices!

            To the extent that you are referring to Liquidmetal’s IP, you are correct. But other companies are also working with amorphous, non-crystalline materials and undoubtedly have their own IP. I have no doubt that Samsung, Microsoft, and others will quickly field their own portable devices using amorphous, non-crystalline materials after Apple releases successful iOS devices using Liquidmetal technology. At this point, however, they don’t have an Apple device implementation to copy.

        1. It’s one thing to copy a phone’s design or elements of its software. It’s quite another to be able to copy and produce something like Liquidmetal.

          Could Samsung work with other companies producing similar products? Sure. If such companies are out there, and if such companies have products ready for market.

          But no way can Samsung steal Liquidmetal from Apple as long as this deal is in effect.

          1. Actually there are two agreements. Apple has exclusive rights to LQMT in consumer electronics FOREVER without paying another cent. So Samsung can never use the material in CE ever. Never ever period.

            The second agreement is a sharing of engineering inventions related to lqmt production. These time limited agreements mean that during the period any advances that the lqmt people make can be used by Apple in engineering and production and any advances/patents that Apple discovers related to production are fully available to lqmt to use in their production in all the other areas they are developing, like sports equipment, rocket parts, etc.

            1. Samsung can take the actual time and money and do the hard work and use similar material but it would take time, years which they won’t have. The same goes for real OS and cpu design. Samsung is reaching their sell by date.

    2. They might not want to sell, besides, metal manufacturing is not a core thing for Apple and as Derek has pointed out, buying a company that is not in their core competence is ver, very risky, or something like that (sorry Derek).

      Can’t see Apple manufacturing to supply the medical, defence manufacturers etc. That’s just silly.

  1. So Samsung steals the technology and ignores the IP and starts using LM in their products, in three years there might be a trial date set. 2 years later, a trial. SS will be found guilty, no injunction we be granted. Appeals will take3 years. By the time its settled, I’ll be 85 years old and won’t remember what or where my iPhone is.

  2. The way I read it, Apple has exclusive rights to use patents and technology it developes and contributes to Crucible. If another company developed different manufacturing methods, it appears they could use Liquidmetal in CE. Just sayin.

    1. Nah. Liquidmetal invented liquidmetal. They discovered it. They own it. No one can use liquidmetal but them. They’re letting Apple work out manufacturing techniques. Apple uses the techniques in CE. Liquidmetal licenses their expertise (enhanced by Apple) to all other industries in the manufacturing of liquidmetal products. Just sayin.

  3. Without internal spies, it is considerably more difficult to copy a manufacturing process than a product.

    Products can be easily purchased and reversed engineered.

    This is why Apple needs more engineers versus lawyers. When Samsung management tells their design team to copy the latest Apple products, the poor chaps in Samsung manufacturing will we greatly challenged.

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