Apple’s new Liquidmetal-related patent sparks speculation

“A recently published Apple patent spotted by AppleInsider shows that the Cupertino-based company is continuing to explore the use of an incredibly strong alloy known as Liquidmetal,” Nathanael Arnold reports for Wall St. Cheat Sheet. “In a patent titled, ‘Counter-gravity casting of hollow shapes,’ Apple describes a new method for casting a ‘bulk metallic glasses’ material — also known as Liquidmetal — into hollow parts by using a counter-gravity molding technique.”

“Despite holding the exclusive rights to use this material for consumer electronics products since 2010, Apple has so far only used Liquidmetal to make a SIM card eject tool for the iPhone. Apple’s limited use of Liquidmetal may be related to the difficulties associated with mass producing this material,” Arnold reports. “However, the recent publication of a Liquidmetal-related patent by Apple has reignited speculation that the long-rumored iWatch may be made from this material.”

Arnold reports, “Since Apple has acquired exclusive rights to use Liquidmetal for consumer electronics products, the use of this material for the iWatch would also give Apple an important competitive edge over other wearable tech device makers that will not be able to use this unique 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.” Every time we hear of Apple and Liquidmetal extending 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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8 Comments

  1. Whatever Apple inc. does or does not do, speculation is not the only reaction sparked off!

    Photocopiers, cameras, recorders, factories, money, patenting of similar or would be products, investement, speculation, speculation and even MORE SPECULATION are all sparked off!!!

    Just saying…….

  2. MDN’s take is correct, except that it doesn’t state especially clearly that both Apple and Liquidmetal are working on inventions related to the use and development of liquid metal parts. The time-bound agreements between the two companies refer to periods of time where both companies share inventions from both.

    For example, just after the last time-bound agreement expired Liquidmetal came out with a Beryllium-free version of liquidmetal. A few months later we learned that both companies extended their agreement for one year, through February, 2015. This extension allows Apple to use the liquid metal invention.

    That said, from the patents we’ve seen it certainly seems (to me) that Apple is contributing vastly more to the liquidmetal IP than Liquidmetal itself is contributing.

      1. As MDN correctly states, the time-bound agreements refer ONLY to the periods of time when both company’s Liquidmetal innovations invented during that time are shared with each other forever.

        Yes, forever. Any inventions made during the time-bound agreements become available to both companies forever.

        Since both companies are actively working on developing the material and ways of manufacturing it, and since both are likely aware of what the other is working on, the incentive to keep re-upping is to gain access to the inventions that may well be perfected during that time.

        But, TO BE VERY CLEAR, (and again as MDN rightly states), Apple has already paid for forever, perpetual, no-end-ever rights to sole use of Liquidmetal in Consumer Electronics products. This right is not time bound. It was a one-time payment of 20 million and it never expires ever.

        Hope that makes it clear.

  3. apropos of nothing related to this article, has anyone multiplied apple’s current stock price, 95.14, by seven to see what the old price would be?

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