Green Chemicals: Gevo continues bio-isobutanol operation despite federal injunction

25 June 2012 00:00  [Source: ICB]

Gevo to continue production and sales unrestricted while Butamax appeals

Bio-butanol producer Gevo will continue existing operations at its 18m gal/year bio-isobutanol plant in Luverne, Minnesota and is also free to sell to new customers.

This follows a US court ruling denying Butamax Advanced Biofuels' request for a preliminary injunction against Gevo in an ongoing patent infringement dispute between the two US-based renewable chemical firms.


 Judge rules in favor of Gevo in patent fight with Butamax

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Gevo said the ruling by the US District Court of Delaware replaces a previous order that restricted supplies from its isobutanol plant in Luverne, Minnesota, which started up last month. The previous order limited Gevo to selling its bio-isobutanol to South Africa-based chemical firm Sasol and to the US Air Force for jet fuel testing applications.

The court's decision means that Gevo is once again free to sell in any market, to any customer, in any region, the company said.

The companies are locked in a patent dispute over the production of bio-based isobutanol.

"We are pleased that the first judicial decision in this dispute landed decisively in favor of Gevo," said Brett Lund, Gevo executive vice president and general counsel.

He added that the court ruled that contrary to Butamax's claims, Butamax did not hold a valid patent and that Gevo did not infringe upon a Butamax patent.

Butamax plans to appeal the ruling. "This is an early step in a long and complex litigation process," said Butamax CEO Paul Beckwith. "We remain highly confident in the ultimate outcome of this case and our other cases against Gevo."

A full trial of the case has been scheduled for April 2013, Butamax said.

Each company has three lawsuits pending against the other on bio-based isobutanol production technology, with five cases filed this year.

Gevo said most of its production at Luverne will be consumed by Sasol for solvents and specialty chemicals. Sasol has an initial three-year supply contract.

By: Doris de Guzman
+1 713 525 2653

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