Gevo and Butamax welcome ruling in US biobutanol patent dispute

28 November 2011 15:25  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Both Gevo and Butamax welcome a ruling by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in their dispute over an alleged infringement of biobutanol patents, the renewable chemicals firms said separately on Monday.

Butamax, a biobutanol joint venture between DuPont and BP, alleges that Gevo infringed two of its patents, referred to as patents '188 and '889, which cover technologies for biobutanol.

The USPTO ruled against re-examining patent '188, but agreed to re-examine patent '889, the companies said in separate statements on Monday.

Gevo said the USPTO, in its ruling, agreed with Gevo’s petition that substantial questions existed as to whether others had invented the technology first and that several scientific journal publications had described the technology before Butamax applied for the patent.

“The USPTO action raises serious questions regarding the merits of Butamax’s claims against Gevo and strengthens our position in the pending infringement lawsuit,” said Brett Lund, Gevo executive vice president and general counsel.

However, Butamax said the USPTO’s ruling not to re-examine the '188 patent reaffirmed its position.

“We are pleased that the USPTO found Gevo’s attempts to invalidate our first patent to be without merit and we are confident that our second patent, which is a continuation of the first, will ultimately receive the same revalidation,” said Butamax CEO Paul Beckwith. 

“With our foundational isobutanol production patent reaffirmed and with key claims of our second patent unchallenged, we will continue our efforts to bring Gevo’s unlawful infringement to an end,” Beckwith added.

A hearing on Butamax's motion for a preliminary injunction to halt Gevo’s alleged infringement is scheduled for early 2012. 

Check out Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog for views on sustainability issues

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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