WILMINGTON, Del., July 23, 2012 -- Butamax™ Advanced Biofuels, LLC noted today that the United
States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued an order granting Butamax’s request for
reexamination of the Gevo “GIFT” Patent No. 8,101,808. The patent has 156 claims related to separation
and recovery of various alcohols, including butanols. The claims also describe methods for retrofitting
ethanol plants to produce higher alcohols. The USPTO issued an Office Action rejecting all 156 claims of
this patent. Further, the USPTO found that a majority of the claims were not entitled to the early priority date
requested by Gevo.
“Butamax is very pleased with the reexamination order. It is a resounding affirmation that this technology
was first invented by Butamax and others,” said Paul Beckwith, Butamax CEO. “While our patent litigations
with Gevo are complex, we believe we were first to invent the foundational isobutanol production technology
and this decision further validates our first-to-invent status.”
The Butamax request for reexamination provided more than 1,000 pages of evidence and other basis for
reexamination, including 110 grounds for rejection. In addition to adopting all 110 grounds of rejection, the
USPTO rejected several claims of the ‘808 patent because Butamax’s ‘188 patent described those claims
as part of Butamax’s foundational technology.
Based on USPTO statistics, it is likely to be some time before the reexamination proceedings are
concluded. On average, reexamination takes about three years. Since patents remain in effect during the
reexamination process, the infringement lawsuit between Butamax and Gevo continues in parallel.
The Butamax™ team began its research on biobutanol in 2004 resulting in key patent filings in 2005. These
early priority filings continue to progress through the patent system. As part of an extensive patent portfolio,
these Butamax™ patent applications encompass recombinant microorganisms that produce biobutanol,
process engineering for recovering the biobutanol, and methods of making isobutanol.
Butamax™ Advanced Biofuels, LLC, a joint venture between BP and DuPont, was formed to develop and
commercialize biobutanol as a next generation renewable biofuel for the transport market. The company
benefits from the synergy of DuPont’s proven industrial biotechnology experience and BP’s global fuels
market knowledge. Butamax’s proprietary technology offers a cost-advantaged manufacturing process for
isobutanol with value from field to pump. For more information, visit www.butamaxpatents.com