Butamax Wins Federal Circuit Appeal
Scope of Fundamental Biobutanol Pathway Patents Upheld
WILMINGTON, Del., Feb. 19, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Butamax™ Advanced
Biofuels, LLC, the leading biobutanol technology company, announces key
Federal Circuit decision, holding that the District Court's narrow
interpretation of Butamax's patents was in error. This decision paves the way
for Butamax's infringement case against Gevo on core biobutanol production
patents to proceed under a favorable claim construction.
Butamax composite logo
Gevo argued non-infringement of Butamax's '188 and '889 patents by using a
narrow definition of one of the enzymes in Butamax's biobutanol pathway (the
KARI enzyme). The Federal Circuit said that the narrow definition was
incorrect and made clear that the plain meaning of Butamax's patents applies.
The Federal Circuit stated, that for the Butamax claims, a KARI enzyme is
construed as "an enzyme, whether naturally occurring or otherwise, known by
the EC 126.96.36.199 that catalyzes the conversion of acetolactate to
2,3-dihydroxyisovalerate." Gevo public documents admit that their enzyme
performs this step and Gevo itself has referred to this type of modified
enzyme as having E.C. 188.8.131.52. Thus, Butamax is confident it will succeed in
its infringement suit against Gevo.
The Federal Circuit also reversed the District Court's decision on summary
judgment that two of the claims of the '889 patent were invalid. The Federal
Circuit stated that Butamax had raised sufficient basis to support its case
for a jury trial on the validity of these claims. While the '188 and '889
patents are in reexamination at the USPTO, the patents remain valid and
enforceable. These reexamination proceedings will continue for some time,
however, they have already resulted in the USPTO examiner finding
patentability of a Butamax patent claim. With this early indication of
validity from the USPTO,Butamax is confident that key patent claims will
withstand challenge. In addition to the '188 and '889 patents, Butamax has
asserted six other patents against Gevo, three of which are set to go to trial
"We are extremely pleased with the multiple rulings in our favor from the
Federal Circuit," said Paul Beckwith, Butamax CEO. "These decisions strongly
support Butamax's efforts to protect its pioneering inventions covering
economic production of isobutanol by fermentation. Butamax is uniquely
positioned to provide ethanol producers with a high-value offering that
mitigates the blend wall with IP-protected technology for isobutanol
production, as well as differentiated co-products."
Butamax™ Advanced Biofuels, LLC was formed to develop and commercialize
biobutanol as a next generation renewable biofuel for the transport market.
The company benefits from the synergy of DuPont's proven industrial
biotechnology experience and BP's global fuels market knowledge. Butamax's
proprietary technology offers a cost-advantaged manufacturing process for
isobutanol with value from field to pump. For more information, visit
Butamax™ is a trademark of Butamax™ Advanced Biofuels, LLC.
CONTACT: Mark Buse
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