Apple builds up liquid metal patent portfolios

Issue

It is recently reported that Apple Inc. is planning to apply liquid metal, which is twice as strong as titanium, to iWatch. Apple is known to have signed an exclusive contract with Liquidmetal Technologies Inc. in 2010 and last year extended the contract to 2014. Accordingly, it has been rumored that liquid metal will be applied to iWatch or iPhone 6 which will be released next year. Currently, Apple is applying liquid metal only to USIM chip ejectors of iPhone and iPad.

Review

  • Liquid metal has such a transparent surface as glass and is resistant to scratches that it is picked as the most ideal material for making smartphones. Apple, which has made extensive innovation in iPhone once every two years, seems highly likely to apply liquid metal to its smartphone models. The contract with Liquidmetal Technologies was made through Crucible Intellectual Property LLC, a subsidiary of Apple, allowing Apple to use all intellectual property rights of Liquidmetal Technologies in commercializing consumer electronics goods.
  • This report looks at liquid metal-related US patents possessed by Apple and its subsidiary Crucible IP, and separately extracts the patents transferred from Liquidmetal Technologies. In addition, the contents of the latest key technologies included in patents are examined with detail by analyzing embodiments of the patents that Apple has recently issued. The major analysis of this report is as follows.
    • Technology Overview: Liquid metal overview
    • Major Analysis: Patents related to liquid metal of Apple, the list of patents bought from Liquidmetal Technologies, embodiments of recently-issued patents, patent competitiveness of Apple
    • Others: Use of patent information



Remarks   Source: IHS, Patent Watch - Display Technology Track, 'Apple builds up liquid metal patent portfolios'