Cooley Scores Pretrial Win for Gevo in Patent Suit

Palo Alto, Calif. – March 27, 2013 – Cooley LLP announced today that it achieved a major victory when it secured a judgment of no infringement on behalf of leading renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels client Gevo, Inc. in a patent suit brought by Butamax Advanced Biofuels LLC ("Butamax"), a joint venture between BP and DuPont.

On March 19, 2013, a Delaware federal judge issued a favorable claim construction ruling for Gevo, granting Gevo partial summary judgment of no infringement under the doctrine of equivalents, and ruling that two key claims of the Butamax patents were invalid. Although the Court did not grant summary judgment of no literal infringement, Butamax acknowledged that it could not prove literal infringement under the Court's claim construction and agreed to stipulate to a judgment of no literal infringement.

In January 2011, Butamax filed a patent infringement suit against Gevo asserting two patents relating to the production of isobutanol, a four-carbon alcohol, in microorganisms. Gevo produces its isobutanol using proprietary recombinant yeast that is genetically engineered to produce it at a high yield. In June 2012, the Court denied Butamax's request for a preliminary injunction against Gevo, a decision that was upheld by the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in December 2012. A trial date was set for early April 2013.

"This judgment marks yet another great step forward for Gevo," said Jim Brogan, partner and chair of the Intellectual Property group. "The ruling enables this highly innovative company to continue to focus on its growth and the development of innovative biofuels products."

The cross-office Cooley team representing Gevo is led by Chairman Stephen Neal and partners Michelle Rhyu and Jim Brogan; and includes partners Ben Damstedt, Bonnie Weiss McLeod, and Matthew Brigham; and associates Adam Pivovar, Daniel Knauss, Carolyn Juarez, Tryn Stimart, Josh Marcus, Melissa Harwood, Kathryn Duvall, Neil Desai, Adam Trigg and Andrew Keith.  

A separate patent re-examination team has obtained rejections of all challenged claims of the two asserted Butamax patents from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. 

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Related Contacts
Stephen Neal  Chairman Emeritus Palo Alto
Michelle Rhyu  Partner Palo Alto
Adam Pivovar  Partner Washington, DC
Bonnie Weiss McLeod  Of Counsel Washington, DC
Daniel Knauss  Partner Palo Alto
Andrew Keith  Special Counsel Washington, DC