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Apple secures Liquidmetal exclusivity for two more years

A filing with the U.S. Securiites and Exchange Commission reveals that Apple has re-upped its exclusive agreement to license Liquidmetal intellectual property, extending the company's perpetual access to any further advancements until early 2014.

While a Liquidmetal-sporting next-generation iPhone may not be in the cards for a 2012 release, Apple is presumably looking into fashioning products out of the unique metal that could make their debut sometime in the next two years.

The SEC document, originally filed on Friday and announced on Monday, is an extension to a Master Transaction Agreement (MTA) into which the two companies originally entered in August of 2010. Under the terms of the initial MTA Apple contributed $20 million to Liquidmetal subsidiary Crucible Intellectual Property, LLC, in return for exclusive perpetual rights to any IP created or acquired by the company for use in the iPad maker's products. That agreement ended in early February.

With the new amended document, Apple extends the terms of the original filing to February 2014, giving the Cupertino-based computer giant an extra two years of exclusive access to further development or new inventions from Liquidmetal that will be perpetually licensed under the MTA.

It was rumored in April that the next-generation iPhone would be made from the alloy, however Liquidmetal inventor Dr. Atakan Peker said in May it would cost $300 million to $500 million dollars and at least three years of development to ready the metal for mass production yields.

Liquidmetal is a super-strong metal alloy with unique properties would be suitable for use in a number of consumer product applications. Apple first used the metal in a SIM card ejector tool for the iPhone 3G though it seems the small implementation was a test and the material has yet to make a follow-up appearance.