Butamax asks USPTO to reexamine foundational Gevo “GIFT” patent

May 7, 2012 |

In Delaware, Butamax Advanced Biofuels announced that it is requesting that the United States Patent and Trademark Office reexamine the Gevo “GIFT” Patent No. 8,101,808. This patent has 156 claims that relate to recovery of alcohols from fermentation. The request for reexamination cites critical references not reviewed by the USPTO prior to the patent being granted, including a reference related to a validity challenge by Brazilian researchers. Butamax believes these references show that the technology claimed in the ‘808 patent was well known at the time the patent was filed. Butamax expects an answer to the reexamination request in early August. Gevo filed suit against Butamax asserting this patent in January 2012, and trial in this case is set for July 2014.

Piper Jaffray analyst Mike Ritzenthaler writes: “The re-exam request on Gevo’s GIFT process technology patent also has no intellectual merit, in our view. The other aspect of Butamax’s press release yesterday was a new re-exam request on Gevo’s GIFT patent, and specifically sites a validity challenge by Brazilian researchers who wrote a paper about a ethanol separation technology.

“Interestingly, Butamax’s press release failed to include the fact that the ‘808 patent only includes higher alcohols (above C2s) and that Gevo’s priority date (from their provisional patent filing) puts them well ahead of the Brazilian researchers. In addition, Gevo clearly cites the Brazilian’s paper in their list of prior art, when the final patent was issued. Although the lengthy multi-year timeframe for this legal wrangling seems daunting, we continue to believe that Gevo will ultimately prevail.”



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