Merck Ordered to Pay $14 Million in Attorneys’ Fees to Rival Gilead After a Patent Infringement Trial Involving Hepatitis C Drugs

| Sean Murray

Editors: John Sganga, Joseph Cianfrani and Boris Zelkind

Patent Judgments & Awards

On July 14, 2017, in a stunning reversal of fortune, a federal court in San Jose, CA, which had previously set aside a $200 million jury verdict in favor of Merck, has now awarded accused infringer Gilead Sciences $13,857,106 in attorneys’ fees. Merck and several affiliates had asserted two U.S. patents against Gilead’s successful Solvadi® and Harvoni® drugs for oral treatments of Hepatitis C. The federal judge threw out the $200 million jury verdict after finding that Merck had improperly used confidential information from Gilead’s predecessor in obtaining the asserted patents, and then sought to conceal its misconduct during the litigation. In view of Merck’s misconduct, the court awarded Gilead its attorneys’ fees. The nearly $14 million in fees awarded by the court represents 90% of the amount requested by Gilead.

The underlying merits of this case are currently on appeal, and Gilead and Merck are engaged in additional litigation relating to the Solvadi® and Harvoni® drugs in other jurisdictions.