Don’t Mess With GS: GreenShift’s Ethanol Patent Enforcement Roadshow


In previous posts (here and here) I discussed GreenShift Corporation’s (GreenShift) patent suits against New Jersey-based separator and decanter maker  GEA Westfalia Separator, Inc. (Westfalia) and ethanol maker Cardinal Ethanol (“Cardinal”).

In both suits GreenShift accused the defendants of infringing U.S. Patent No. 7,601,858 (‘858 Patent), entitled “Method of processing ethanol byproducts and related subsystems.”

GS CleanTech Corporation (GS), a wholly owned subsidiary of GreenShift, has recently turned up the heat on a host of ethanol producers, firing off complaints in courthouses across the midwestern United States.  The recent lawsuits include:

GS CleanTech Corp. v. Big River Resources Galva, LLC, filed February 12, 2010 in the Northern District of Illinois (gs-galva_complaint.pdf);

GS CleanTech Corp. v. Amaizing Energy Atlantic, LLC, filed May 3, 2010 in the Northern District of Iowa (gs-amaizing_complaint.pdf);

GS CleanTech Corp. v. Center Ethanol, LLC, filed May 3, 2010 in the Northern District of Illinois (gs-centerethanol_complaint.pdf);

GS CleanTech Corp. v. Bushmills Ethanol, Inc., filed May 3, 2010 in the District of Minnesota (gs-bushmills_complaint.pdf);

GS CleanTech Corp. v. United Wisconsin Grain Producers, LLC, filed May 3, 2010 in the Western District of Wisconsin (gs-wisconsin_complaint.pdf);

GS CleanTech Corp. v. Blue Flint Ethanol, LLC, filed May 3, 2010 in the District of North Dakota (gs-blueflint_complaint.pdf); and

GS CleanTech Corp. v. Iroquois Bio-Energy Company, filed May 3, 2010 in the Northern District of Indiana (gs-iroquois_complaint.pdf).

The ‘858 Patent is directed to methods of recovering oil from byproducts of ethanol production using the process of dry milling, which creates a waste stream comprised of byproducts called whole stillage.

According to the ‘858 Patent, whole stillage contains valuable oil but prior processes for recovering this oil have been expensive or inefficient.

GS’s patented method includes mechanically separating the whole stillage into distillers wet grains and thin stillage and then running the thin stillage into an evaporator to form a concentrated byproduct, or syrup.  The syrup is fed through a second centrifuge, which separates usable corn oil from the syrup.

By my count the complaints filed this month bring GS’s patent enforcement total to nine lawsuits, which suddenly makes this a major green patent story.  Stay tuned.

Eric Lane Avatar

Eric Lane

Eric Lane, the founder and principal of Green Patent Law, is an intellectual property lawyer and registered U.S. patent attorney in New York and is a member of the bar in New York and California. Eric has more than two decades of experience working with wind, solar PV, CSP, biofuels, and geothermal, energy storage technologies, carbon capture and sequestration, medical devices, data communications, mechanical, chemical, internet and software.