Gevo, Butamax each announced additional lawsuits filed

By Holly Jessen | August 14, 2012

On Aug. 14 Gevo Inc. and Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC each announced filing lawsuits—one claiming patent infringement and the second asking that that patent be declared invalid. The two companies have been locked in legal battle as they strive to commercialize bio-based butanol production. 

Butamax announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Butamax Patent No. 8,241,878 and that it had filed a lawsuit against Gevo for infringement of this patent—on the same day. “Butamax was first to identify the superior activity of these DHAD enzymes for the production of isobutanol,” said Paul Beckwith, Butamax CEO, in a press release, “and we are pleased to add this patent to our extensive intellectual property portfolio.” In addition, Butamax said its request for an expedited appeal of the recent preliminary injunction decision was granted in federal court.

Gevo said that is has filed a lawsuit for declaratory judgment against Butamax, asking the court to declare the 878 Butamax patent is invalid and that Gevo does not infringe on it. “We believe Butamax’s patent is invalid and will be filing a Request for Reexamination with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,” Brett Lund, executive vice president and general counsel of Gevo, said in a prepared statement. “We can make this claim for many reasons, including the fact that we already have an issued patent covering this technology and we invented it before Butamax filed its patent application.”

Gevo also filed another lawsuit at the end of July, charging Butamax infringes on Gevo’s ‘089 patent.  “Gevo has advanced well beyond the R&D stage. We are now operating commercially,” Lund said. “We believe this action is an attempt by Butamax and its corporate parents to impede our progress. They are trying to use the courts to compensate for their lack of progress.”