Syntroleum defends Bio-Synfining tech against Neste allegations
On Dec. 20, Syntroleum Corp. was sued for alleged patent infringement in the District of Delaware by Neste Oil Oyj regarding U.S. Patent No. 8,212,094. The '094 patent covers similar subject matter and shares a common inventor with prior Neste patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 7,279,018 and 8,187,344), as they are directed to processes for making, or compositions of, diesel fuel or diesel range hydrocarbons. Syntroleum has not infringed any of Neste's alleged patent rights and Syntroleum will continue to vigorously defend against Neste's allegations. The '094 patent, like the '018 and '344 patents, adds nothing new to the field of diesel fuels or methods for making same. All claims of Neste's prior '018 patent were invalidated following a March 22 decision by the USPTO Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences finding that “the evidence of record as a whole supports the examiner's conclusion that the fuel composition as claimed would have been obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art...” Neste declined to appeal this ruling and on July 31, the USPTO issued a Reexamination Certificate canceling all claims of the '018 patent. Likewise, the related '344 patent is the subject of an inter partes reexamination wherein the USPTO issued a Sept. 14 Office Action rejecting all claims of that patent as obvious in view of the prior art. This reexamination is pending and is assigned Reexam Control Number 95002084.
Syntroleum is currently defending Neste's suit filed May 29 on the '344 patent in the District of Delaware. Syntroleum's Answer and Counterclaims to Neste's First Amended Complaint regarding the '344 patent was filed on Sept.24 and Syntroleum's Motion to Stay the district court action in view of the USPTO reexamination proceedings is pending. Syntroleum will pursue its noninfringement, invalidity and other defenses with respect to both asserted Neste patents and is confident that its position will be vindicated.
Syntroleum owns the Syntroleum Process for Fischer-Tropsch conversion of synthesis gas into liquid hydrocarbons, the Synfining Process for upgrading FT liquid hydrocarbons into refined petroleum products, and the Bio-Synfining technology for converting renewable feedstocks into drop-in fuels.
Syntroleum has a 50 percent interest in Dynamic Fuels LLC, which operates a 75 million gallon per year renewable fuels facility located in Geismar, La., utilizing its Bio-Synfining technology.