Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Gevo Wins in Court; Free to Sell to Anyone, Anywhere

Gevo Wins in Court; Free to Sell to Anyone, AnywhereShawshank, VA 6/20/12 (StreetBeat) -- Gevo, Inc. (Nasdaq:GEVO), a leading renewable chemicals and next-generation biofuels company, announced today that the U.S. District Court of Delaware denied the Motion for Preliminary Injunction sought by Butamax™ Advanced Biofuels, LLC (Butamax) against Gevo. This decision replaces the previous court order, and means that Gevo is once again free to sell in any market, to any customer, in any region.

“We are pleased that the first judicial decision in this dispute landed decisively in favor of Gevo,” said Brett Lund, EVP and General Counsel for Gevo. “For the last year, we have publicly stated that we believe that Patent No. 7,993,889 (‘889 Patent) is invalid and that we do not infringe. This ruling provides judicial support for both positions.”

In the Honorable Judge Sue L. Robinson’s judicial opinion, she stated, “that plaintiff (Butamax) does not hold a valid patent, nor would the defendant (Gevo) infringe if it did.”

On Sept. 22, 2011, Butamax petitioned the Court for a preliminary injunction against Gevo and accused Gevo of infringing the ‘889 Patent. Gevo opposed Butamax’s motion, explaining that the asserted claims of the ‘889 Patent are neither valid nor infringed. The Court has now ruled in favor of Gevo and denied Butamax’s request for a preliminary injunction.

“Gevo has consistently maintained that it does not infringe Butamax’s ‘889, ‘188 (Patent No. 7,851,188) and ‘328 (Patent No. 8,178,328) patents, because the Gevo-created NKR enzyme used in our engineered yeast strains uses NADH, and not NADPH, as an electron donor,” said Lund. “NADH enables Gevo’s yeast strains to produce isobutanol at much greater efficiencies than strains using NADPH.”

In rejecting Butamax’s allegations of infringement, the Court held that the KARI enzymes of Butamax’s ‘889 Patent are “explicitly defined as being exclusively NADPH-dependent.” “This is important, because the same definitions are provided within Butamax’s ‘188 and ‘328 patents that have also been asserted against Gevo,” said Lund.

In addition to achieving this significant victory before the Court in Delaware, Gevo continues to make strides within the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Consistent with the Court’s findings, the USPTO has rejected all of the Butamax claims that Gevo has challenged, finding those claims rejected as unpatentable in view of a substantial collection of prior art as indicated in reexamination case files (Serial No. 95/001,735 for the ‘889 Patent and Serial No. 95/001,857 for the ‘188 Patent).

“We are up against two of the biggest companies in our industry (BP and DuPont) and believe that Butamax’s failed motion and ongoing infringement claims are without merit and are merely attempts to derail Gevo’s progress,” said Lund. “But we have prevailed. We’ve commenced the startup of our Luverne Plant, proved to the USPTO that Butamax’s ‘889 and ‘188 patents are unpatentable and won the preliminary injunction hearing convincingly. We are ready to move on with the commercialization of renewable isobutanol for the benefit of our customers in the chemical and fuels industries.

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