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06 04 2017 02

Dyson, the UK appliance maker owned by billionaire James Dyson, has relinquished the core intellectual property of Sakti3, a hyper-secretive solid-state battery startup that it acquired for $90 million just 18 months ago as the first step in a plan to become a battery juggernaut.

The move—canceling its $200,000-a-year license for Sakti3’s patent portfolio from the University of Michigan, from which the startup was spun out—is stunning: When Dyson announced the deal in October 2015, much of the business press described it as potentially transformational, catapulting Dyson into the vanguard of the global race for long-lasting electronics and affordable electric cars. As though challenging industry trend-setter Tesla, Dyson would build a $1 billion battery factory, with Sakti3’s invention going initially into Dyson vacuum cleaners within two years. Leading up to the deal, founder Dyson said an initial $15 million investment in Sakti3 might one day be worth more than the entirety of his company at the time. (The value of privately held Dyson is not known, but Dyson himself is worth $4.2 billion, according to Forbes.)

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