Patent litigation itself is aggressive by nature, but the biofuel industry's patents often get a harsher spotlight as the market for green technology and alternative fuel sources receives pressure from the global community. Butamax -- a maker of technology to produce biobutanol -- has been in a long patent dispute with Gevo -- a producer of renewable isobutanol. Each has claimed that the other violates its biofuel patents, and they have met in courtroom after courtroom to determine who owns what intellectual property. The disputes have just been given another lease on life as Butamax has been granted another chance to assert its patents against Gevo in the U.S.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a district court's summary judgments on February 18, allowing Gevo to defend its patents once again to determine whether they are valid, and whether Gevo is guilty of infringement. But this turn of events for both companies could just be the next in a long string of legal disputes that have stemmed from years of mutual patent persecution.