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IP, Legal Expert Takes Over as Nanotech Co.'s Legal Chief

Source: Streetwise Reports


July 18, 2023 ( Newswire) This company's new chief legal officer, who will oversee its intellectual property, is an inventor with a dozen patents himself.

Nanotechnology company Meta Materials Inc. (MMAT:NASDAQ; MMAX:CSE; MMAT:FSE), which has more than 500 active patents, has hired a new chief legal officer to oversee the company's intellectual property (IP).

Daniel Eaton, who is also in charge of financial performance and corporate governance, is licensed to practice law in California and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He's also an inventor himself with 12 issued patents.

Among 512 active utility and design patent documents, 322 patents have been issued to META.

"Not only will his expertise facilitate our market penetration, but it will also fortify our competitive edge and safeguard the groundbreaking solutions we have developed over many years," said META President and Chief Executive Officer George Palikaras.

The company is applying its futuristic technology to the communications, health and wellness, aerospace, automotive, and clean energy sectors.

It recently announced it was reorganizing to focus on three primary areas for the rest of 2023: its KolourOptik® authentication technology, battery materials, and the introduction of a multiple-gigapixel wide-area motion imagery system.

Analyst Jake Sekelsky of Alliance Global Partners, in a July 7 updated research note, wrote that META was "making positive strides toward commercialization."

"We support management's strategy that we expect to result in a reduced cash burn on a quarterly basis while allowing for a quicker path toward commercialization and ultimately positive cash flow," wrote Sekelsky, who rated the stock a Buy with a target price of US$1.20 per share. "In short, we believe MMAT is reaching an inflection point - transitioning from the R&D (research and development) phase to the commercialization stage."

The Catalyst: A 'Hands-On' Approach

Eaton took over his new role on July 12, the company noted. In his previous positions with Katena Computing Technologies Inc., Netronome Systems Inc., and Zilog Inc., he had a "hands-on approach to legal matters and corporate governance," META wrote in a release.

Eaton called META "a progressive trailblazer in the fast-evolving nanotechnology sector."

"I am committed to working in close tandem with the leadership team and the Board to support best practices in corporate governance, extract the maximum value from our extensive portfolio of over 500 active patents and expedite our product commercialization," Eaton said.

A patent is the grant of a property right "by a sovereign authority to an inventor," according to Investopedia.

Patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office extend only through U.S. territory, so companies must navigate international waters to get their breakthroughs registered. META noted it has 78 issued patents and 112 pending applications in the U.S. and 247 issued patents and 75 pending applications in 29 countries throughout the world.

Making Batteries Safer, More Efficient

META is using metamaterials to develop nanotechnology products like self-deicing and defogging enclosures for automotive advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), see-through antennas, augmented reality glasses that look like regular glasses, and special eyewear that protects pilots' eyes from laser strikes.

But battery technology is the company's biggest potential market, Palikaras said.

According to Markets and Markets, the market was valued at US$57.8 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach US$120.4 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.8%.

With electric vehicles (EVs) set to lead the way to a green energy revolution, META said its products would make lithium batteries safer and more efficient while extending their range and making battery supply chains more sustainable.

NPORE® Battery Separator Stands Out

NPORE®, META's free-standing, flexible battery separator made with a ceramic nanomaterial, provides less than 1% heat shrinkage up to 220° C. Conventional plastic separators shrink at higher temperatures, which can cause thermal runaway and battery failures.

The company was chosen as a finalist at the International Battery Seminar in Orlando, Fla., earlier this year in its Best of Show awards program recognizing the best new battery products.

"NPORE® provides outstanding heat resistance compared with conventional polymer separators, which show significant shrinkage at elevated temperatures due to the melting of the polymer," Water Tower Research analyst Graham Mattison wrote in a March research note.

In March, a confidential top 10 battery original equipment manufacturer (OEM) signed a joint development agreement with META for NPORE®.

"We see this as further validation of NPORE® and a catalyst for the shares," Mattison wrote. "META has demonstrated the excellent electrochemical performance and outstanding heat resistance of NPORE® through both independent testing and a recently released white paper from a battery developer. This agreement shows the commercial potential of the product as well as a potential path to market."

'A Positive Step'

Another focus for META this year is reducing its monthly burn rate by as much as half to US$2.6 million to US$3.8 million from US$5.7 million, Cormark Securities analyst MacMurray Whale wrote in a research note.

"As we noted last quarter, MMAT's high burn rate and low cash balance was a concern, and as a result, we see the revised plan as a positive step that should garner a positive investor response," wrote Whale, who reiterated his Buy rating on the stock with a target of US$1.50 per share. "On the call, Management indicated that it would need US$50 MM over the next 12 months from a combination of reduced cash burn, raising capital from strategics or grants from government programs, and last through equity."

Ownership and Share Structure

About 15% of META is held by management and insiders, according to Yahoo Finance. Among them is President and Chief Executive Officer George Palikaras, who owns 8.3% or 29.9 million shares, Reuters reported.

Yahoo said about 11% of the company is held by institutions. Some of the top holders are State Street Global Advisors (US), with 4% or 14.49 million shares, and Nova Scotia Innovation Corp., with 3.45% or 12.5 million shares, according to Reuters.

The rest, 74%, is retail.

The company has a market cap of US$88.02 million, with 362.2 million shares outstanding and 307.5 million free-floating. It trades in a 52-week range of US$2.34 and US$0.173.

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