Bio-butanol patent fight continues

The blog has been following the biobutanol patent issues between Butamax and Gevo since August 9. Last week, however, Gevo announced its request to the US Patent and Trademarked Office (USPTO) to invalidate Butamax’s patent 7,851,188 issued on December 2010, which covers biocatalysts that Butamax developed to produce isobutanol.

Gevo is also filing a second petitiion with the USPTO to invalidate Butamax’s patent 7,993,889 which was granted on August 9. This patent covers methods for low-cost production of biobutanol.

Butamax filed an infringement lawsuit against Gevo on January this year regarding the ’188 patent. On August 9, Butamax amended the lawsuit to also include the related ’889 patent. On Gevo’s recent press release, the company said the two patents were already known in the scientific community and were already been invented by others before Butamax applied for the patents. 

“Furthermore, Gevo does not use the technology claimed in these patents. We use our own distinct technology, GIFT® (Gevo Integrated Fermentation Technology®), which is covered by more than 150 patent applications and enables the efficient production of isobutanol.” – Gevo

It must be intimidating for a small company to go against chemical giants such as DuPont. However, this patent fight seems to signal the growing potential importance of bio-butanol for the biofuel and chemical industries. The blog would like to hear opinions from other bio-isobutanol producers about this issue…

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