FDAnews Drug Daily Bulletin
Pharmaceuticals / Regulatory Affairs

Supreme Court Refuses Merck’s Appeal Over $200 Million Gilead Verdict

Jan. 17, 2019

The Supreme Court declined to consider Merck’s appeal of a California court ruling that overturned a $200 million jury award against Gilead over a hepatitis C drug patent.

In March 2016, a jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California awarded Merck $200 million, ruling that Gilead’s hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi (sofosbuvir) and Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir) infringed on two of Merck’s patents.

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman reversed that decision on June 6, 2016, after finding that one of Merck’s in-house patent attorneys was mainly responsible for the misbehavior. Citing the doctrine of “unclean hands” — which can prevent plaintiffs from winning a case if it becomes apparent they acted unethically — Freeman said Merck’s actions were “even more egregious because the main perpetrator of its misconduct was its attorney.”

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