Judge sides with Gevo in corn patent suit

The company that converted a southwest Minnesota ethanol plant to production of a corn-derived industrial chemical has won an early victory in a court fight with a competitor.

Colorado-based Gevo began making isobutanol from corn at the plant in Luverne in May while the court fight with Butamax was on-going. Butamax, which is a joint venture between BP and DuPont, has failed to convince a judge to restrict Gevo's sales. Butamax said it will continue its patent infringement suit.

Gevo Executive Vice President Brett Lund said the court fight is not slowing the company down.

"We've been moving full steam ahead on our business plan," said Lund.

Lund said the case is set to be heard next year.

"Four patents are in this first lawsuit which is going to trial April 1," said Lund.

Gevo has also sued Butamax. Besides the Luverne plant, Gevo is moving ahead with plans to convert an ethanol plant in Redfield, S.D. to isobutanol production.

Gevo also announced this week that it will help build a plant in Malaysia to make isobutanol from biomass sources.

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