Butamax Patent Lawsuit Against Gevo

Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC has filed a second patent infringement lawsuit against Gevo Inc, which will send the two biofuel companies back to court later this year. The lawsuit alleges that Gevo infringed on a Butamax patent for the company’s foundational technology for producing low-cost biobutanol.

Butamax filed a previous lawsuit against Gevo in January 2011 over the same issue, but Gevo has responded that both cases are without merit. Gevo asserts that it will defend its operations and claims that they are the true leaders in the production and commercialization of low cost isobutanol.

The CEO of Gevo, Pat Gruber, claims that the company will aggressively defend its ability to operate freely. Butamax, on the other hand, is a new company formed through a joint venture between DuPont and BP, with plans to launch commercial production in the 2012 to 2013 time period. Gevo is currently working to convert their existing plants for ethanol production into refineries for the production of isobutanol.

The second patent infringement lawsuit was filed over a patent that was just issued to Butamax in recent weeks and describes the foundational methods for low-cost biobutanol production. The patent was granted by the US Patent and Trademark Office under patent number 7,993,889.

The intellectual property portfolio controlled by Butamax includes many novel technologies that span the production chain. For example, Butamax has patents on recombinant microorganisms which are used to convert biological feedstocks into biobutanol.

They also own a patent on process engineering which is used to recover biobutanol that is produced in the fermentation process.

Engineering designs for different chemical compositions, renewable fuels and optimized energy integrations round out the impressive list of Butamax patents on advanced biofuel technologies. Gevo continues to assert that the patent lawsuit is without merit, and they will continue to increase their production of low cost isobutanol.