Butamax(TM) Advanced Biofuels v. Gevo, Inc., No. 13-1342 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Butamax owns the 188 patent, which covers a recombinant microbial host cell that uses a particular biosynthetic pathway to produce isobutanol, which is useful as a fuel or fuel additive, and the 889 patent, which issued from a divisional of the 188 patent’ application and focuses on a method of producing isobutanol from a recombinant yeast microorganism that expresses a five-step biosynthetic pathway. The patents’ specifications largely are identical. The district court rejected Butamax’s claim of literal infringement and granted Gevo summary judgment of noninfringement under the doctrine of equivalents of the asserted claims and of invalidity of claims 12 and 13 of the 889 patent for lack of written description, and invalidity of claims 12 and 13 of the 889 patent for lack of enablement. The Federal Circuit vacated. The district court erred in its claim construction and determination under the doctrine of equivalents and failed to recognize the existence of genuine issues of material fact. The court reversed summary judgment of invalidity for lack of enablement because that judgment appeared to have been a scrivener’s error.