Gilead Dodges Liability in Merck HCV Patent Dispute

June 13, 2016

A district court judge has spared Gilead from paying a hefty sum in damages to Merck over a HCV patent dispute, overturning a March San Jose federal jury ruling.

Merck demonstrated a “pervasive pattern of misconduct,” rendering two of its patents for the nucleotide analog sofosbuvir unenforceable, wrote Judge Beth Labson Freeman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in her decision.  

The case dates back to August 2013, when Gilead sued Merck after it demanded a 10 percent royalty for the use of sofosbuvir as the active ingredient in Gilead’s hepatitis C drugs Sovaldi and Harvoni. Merck claimed ownership of the laboratory work for sofosbuvir, while Gilead contended the patents don’t apply to the compounds used in the drug.

The ruling reverses a decision from the federal jury in March, which ordered Gilead to pay Merck $200 million in damages.

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