InterviewButamax to press on with Gevo US suit - CEO

20 June 2012 23:03  [Source: ICIS news]

NEW YORK (ICIS)--Although Butamax lost its bid for a preliminary injunction against Gevo, the US court’s decision has little bearing on the strength of the biobutanol producer's case, the company's chief executive said on Wednesday.

“Obviously this is not the outcome that we were looking for in this preliminary injunction, but it should be seen in context,” said Paul Beckwith, Butamax CEO.

The ruling is part of an ongoing patent dispute around bio-based isobutanol.

“This is an early stage in a long and complicated litigation,” he continued. “We remain extremely confident in the foundational technology that we developed, and we do expect to be successful at the conclusion of this legal process.”

Issued by the US District Court, Delaware district, the decision leaves US-based Gevo free to market biobutanol produced at its plant in Luverne, Minnesota, which started up last month.

The two US-based companies began their patent war when Butamax first sued Gevo in January 2011. Since then, both companies have unleashed a fusillade of lawsuits claiming infringement of patents related to the production of biobutanol.

Beckwith stressed the narrow scope of injunction ruling.

“The case we're bringing against Gevo, which comes to trial in April 2013, involves two patents, and all of the claims of those patents will be considered,” he noted. “In the preliminary injunction hearing, one of those patents, and only three of [its] claims, were considered.”

Gevo disputes the validity of the two patents and recently persuaded the US Patent and Trademark office to reexamine them, a process that could take several years.

Meanwhile, Butamax plans to appeal the interpretation, Beckwith said, noting that the appeal will be expedited on the basis of an earlier judicial opinion that infringement would “irreparably harm” Butamax.  

“We’re only at the first stage,” said Beckwith. “We’re confident that these are real, important and valuable inventions, and we’re confident that at the end of the reexamination process, that will be confirmed.”

Butamax is a joint venture made up of DuPont and BP.

By: Clay Boswell
+1 713 525 2653

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