Gevo, Inc. (NASDAQ: GEVO), a leading renewable chemicals and next generation biofuels company, commented on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) decision to deny a Butamax™ Advanced Biofuels, LLC (Butamax) request to reexamine key claims of U.S. Patent No. 8,017,376 (‘376 Patent), "Methods of Increasing Dihydroxy Acid Dehydratase Activity to Improve Production of Fuels, Chemicals and Amino Acids" or AFT patent.
“We are extremely pleased with the USPTO’s decision to uphold key claims of our ‘376 Patent,” said Brett Lund, Gevo’s EVP and General Counsel. “The USPTO only adopted a fraction of Butamax’s proposed rejections and simultaneously upheld the validity of claims we believe Butamax is infringing. Despite Butamax’s statements to the contrary, this decision is a significant win for Gevo, and bolsters our pending infringement case against Butamax.”
“Importantly, the USPTO’s decision means that Butamax is now prohibited from asserting that Gevo’s upheld claims are invalid during litigation. As evidenced by Butamax’s own publications, we are confident that they are infringing our ‘376 Patent and we look forward to proving that in court,” added Lund.
The ‘376 Patent covers a necessary modification for improving the activity of an enzymatic step in Gevo's unique isobutanol pathway. While Butamax has publicly chastised Gevo’s lawsuit as “frivolous,” Gevo believes Butamax chose to challenge the ‘376 Patent because it is a modification strictly required for achieving commercially relevant production of isobutanol in yeast.
Butamax also filed a request for reexamination of U.S. Patent No. 8,101,808 (‘808 Patent) covering Gevo’s foundational separation technology that provides enhanced fermentation performance and low-cost, energy-efficient isobutanol recovery or GIFT
technology. “Butamax has merely requested reexamination which hasn’t yet been granted. Similar to the ‘376 Patent, we are confident that our claims will withstand this challenge,” said Lund.
"We expect the breadth and strength of our patent estate to expand rapidly over the coming months,” continued Lund. “With this success come challenges to protect our intellectual property as we continue to be on the forefront of producing isobutanol for the commercial sector.”