Gevo Rises on U.S. Reexamination of Butamax Biofuel Patent

Gevo Inc., the U.S. biotechnology company backed by oil refiner Total SA and specialty chemicals maker Lanxess AG, rose the most in a week after the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office agreed to reexamine a patent of rival Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC.

Gevo, based in Englewood, Colorado, climbed 9.1 percent to $7.82 at the close in New York, the most since Feb. 29.

Gevo and Butamax, a joint venture of BP Plc and DuPont Co., are developing processes to make isobutanol from corn and non-food crops and have been sparring over patent rights. Isobutanol may be blended with gasoline or refined into jet fuel, specialty chemicals or other products that are typically derived from petroleum.

Gevo yesterday said the PTO would reexamine a “foundational” patent covering Butamax’s process. The office in November agreed to review a separate Butamax patent that was issued in August.

Butamax said today its patents remain “in full force and effect” and the review may take years to resolve.

The two patents are part of an infringement lawsuit that Wilmington, Delaware-based Butamax brought against Gevo in January 2011 and is set for a 2013 trial.

Gevo has countersued, claiming that Butamax is infringing on new patents issued to it in September and January.

The Butamax case is Butamax v. Gevo, 11-CV-00054, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington). The Gevo case is Gevo v. Butamax, 12-CV-70, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).