Palo Alto, Calif. – Cooley achieved a major victory when it secured a judgment of no infringement on behalf of leading renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels client Gevo in a patent suit brought by Butamax Advanced Biofuels, 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 US 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."
A separate patent re-examination team has obtained rejections of all challenged claims of the two asserted Butamax patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office.