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Gevo Falls on Patent Office Review of Biofuel Technology

Gevo Inc., the U.S. biotechnology company backed by the French oil company Total SA and the specialty-chemicals maker Lanxess AG, fell after the government agreed to review one of its patents.

Gevo declined 1.6 percent to $4.43 at the close in New York. Earlier, it fell to $4.08, the lowest since its February 2011 initial public offering. Shares have fallen 30 percent this year.

The U.S. Patent Office today will review all 156 claims in Gevo’s “GIFT” Patent No. 8,101,808, in response to a request from Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC, a joint venture of DuPont Co. and BP Plc, according to a statement today. Butamax sued Gevo in 2011 alleging misuse of technology for genetically engineered microorganisms used to produce biofuels.

“Re-examinations are part of the normal course of a patent dispute, especially when dealing with valuable technology,” Brett Lund, Gevo’s general counsel, said in an e-mailed statement. “This re-examination does not validate patent applications of Butamax or anyone else.”

In a preliminary review, the patent office rejected the claims. The agency often issues rejections in the first round of a review, and Gevo has the chance to respond to the rejection. The patent remains valid and enforceable throughout the review process.

Gevo, based in Englewood, Colorado, is involved in several patent lawsuits with Wilmington, Delaware-based Butamax.

Gevo makes isobutanol from corn and non-food crops. Isobutanol may be blended with gasoline or refined into jet fuel, specialty chemicals or other products that are typically derived from petroleum.

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