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May 28, 2013

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Apple filed about 20 patents regarding liquidmetal
Source:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOqeqpt8ZGA

Adam, I don't think Apple would have the legal ownership to use liquid metal in a cross licensing agreement with HTC, nor do I think Apple would have any interest/requirement in doing so. They would simply trade the patents that both parties are infringing, and stop suing one another. At least thats what I'd guess. So Apple wouldn't need to cross license future product designs.

As Jack said, I'd bet more that HTC is throwing around the term "liquid metal" loosely, hoping to gain publicity as a buzzword. But we all know using liquid metal as a buzzword is disingenious to the true potential behind this alloys ability to redefine consumer electronics enclosures. And someone who would use liquid metal as a buzzword is not someone who actually cares deeply about design and advancing the state of the art, its just someone who wants to grab headlines and evoke a mirage of innovation.

We all know that if anyones capable of truly applying this new alloy to consumer design and really squeezing it of its potential, its Jony Ive and his team. Not to knock HTC, they just don't have what it takes to truly pioneer new rules and processes for designing and assembling a new class of enclosure.

That's an interesting point, Adam, and one never knows what Apple has up their sleeve to counter Samsung. But I don't think Apple would go to the trouble of gaining exclusive rights, just to "share" them with others.

HTC is hurting right now and although they're gaining sales away from Samsung with their new sexy One smartphone, they need to keep the momentum going to appeal to their base in Taiwan where DigiTimes is from.

DigiTimes reports on a lot of supply chain chatter and you have to take the good and off-beat news as just that. Sometimes out of chatter comes a form of the truth, and so this has some interest.

Thank you Jack.
Do you think maybe this shared patent Apple/HTC agreement could have something to do with it?
But then again the DigiTimes is not the most reliable source...

Yes, according to the original deal, Apple had certain exclusive rights. One part of the agreement stated: ....exclusive license to commercialize such intellectual property in the field of consumer electronic products, as defined in the license agreement."

http://www.patentlyapple.com/patently-apple/2012/04/looking-into-one-of-apples-special-purpose-liquidmetal-projects.html

I don't know what was "defined" in the license agreement. Maybe there was a loop hole. I was surprised to learn that Apple signed a second contract for two years. Did HTC sneak in between deals? What does the second deal cover? There's more questions than answers at the moment.

But like you, I questioned that HTC had what it took to pull if off in the time frame of "this year."

It could also be a term they're just throwing around or that there's a liquidmetal competitor out there that we're not aware of. Microsoft used the term Liquid metal when describing their new Surface tablet.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/06/19/microsoft-surfaces-liquid-metal-is-not-the-same-as-apples-liquidmetal/


In the end, HTC may have used the term loosely to gain attention. With that said, it was reported as such by DigiTimes and we passed that news along. How it actually plays out is another matter.

I fail to see how HTC could even be close to readying a liquidmetal chassis, if they're just jumping on the bandwagon after hearing about Apple researching it. Secondly, didn't Apple sign a deal with Liquidmetal that they would have exclusive rights to using the Liquidmetal alloy, IP and patents in the entire consumer electronics field? So unless HTC somehow invented their own proprietary alloy that didn't infringe Liquidmetal's patents, I don't see how HTC could be building anything with it.

I thought Apple had a patent and exclusivity of this material for electronic devices.

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